20 April 2024

Vaccinating a child during an emergency is more important than EVER

During the European Immunization Week, UNICEF's Refugee Response in Poland published a report on a study conducted in collaboration with the Mother and Child Institute Foundation, Yale School of Medicine, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. The report focuses on factors that facilitate and barriers that hinder the participation of refugee-experienced children in routine vaccination programs.The research revealed that over one-third of mothers from Ukraine in Poland, whose children have not yet reached the age of seven, do not know how to vaccinate their children in Poland. In response to these findings, actions are necessary not only to rebuild trust in the effectiveness and safety of vaccinations but also to promote vaccination among families living in Poland.Experts examined the impact of communication about vaccinations on the decision-making process of mothers from Ukraine. Testing different messages aimed to determine which of the three narratives would influence the decision to schedule children for vaccination appointments (through a link provided in the study). The results showed that the most effective message emphasized the unique situation of residents from Ukraine, which led to an increase in the number of vaccination registrations through the link provided in the study.Decisions regarding participation in protective vaccinations are shaped by various factors. The Behavioral and Social Determinants of Immunization (BeSD) framework indicates that cognitive and emotional elements, along with social dynamics, play key roles in motivating individuals to get vaccinated. Moreover, the way information about vaccinations is presented can significantly affect the decision to get vaccinated or not, hence the importance of how the communication is phrased."Low vaccination rates mean that both refugees and host communities are at risk of preventable diseases. UNICEF continuously works to protect children from diseases, which is why we collaborate not only with government authorities, local partners, and organizations but also listen to the voices of those we help to better understand their behaviors and reach them with messages that positively influence their vaccination decisions" - says Nona Zicherman, National Coordinator of UNICEF's Refugee Response Office in Poland.This report summarizes the findings of mixed-method research, using both qualitative and quantitative studies, to identify factors influencing the participation of refugee children from Ukraine in Poland in routine vaccinations.
05 February 2024

Protecting your child against measles, mumps and rubella

With the decline in vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic, measles cases are rising in Europe and Central Asia. Children who have not been fully vaccinated with the MMR vaccine remain at the greatest risk of catching the measles virus that can lead to pneumonia, lifelong brain damage, hearing loss and even death. The vast majority of doctors…, What is measles?, Measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus. It can spread to others when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Other people can become infected if they breathe the contaminated air or touch an infected surface and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth. The measles virus can live for up to two hours in the air. It is so contagious that…, What is mumps?, Mumps is a very contagious viral disease. We can catch it from an infected person who sneezes or coughs near us. It also spreads when an infected person touches their nose or mouth and then touches a surface someone else may touch. The symptoms are often mild and usually take a few days to appear. The most noticeable are swollen cheeks and neck…, What is rubella?, Rubella is a contagious viral infection. We can catch it when an infected person coughs or sneezes near us. It also spreads when we touch a surface that has been contaminated with the rubella virus by being touched by someone who is infected, and then touch our own eyes, mouth or nose. Rubella used to be called ‘German measles’, and some people…, What is the MMR vaccine?, The MMR vaccine protects our children from measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). These diseases can cause severe harm and even death. That's why vaccination against them is so important to help our children grow up healthy and protected! The MMR vaccine has been used since the 1970s and has been given safely to more than 500 million children…, How is the MMR vaccine given?, A short needle under the skin is used to give a child the MMR vaccine. Our children should receive two doses of the MMR vaccine for the best possible protection against measles, mumps and rubella. The exact time of the MMR vaccine depends on your country’s vaccination schedule. The World Health Organization recommends that the first dose of the…, Can my child get the MMR and other vaccines if they are allergic to eggs?, Yes. Children with an egg allergy can still have the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccination. The vaccine contains only tiny amounts of egg protein and can even be given to children with a severe egg allergy, such as anaphylaxis (difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, nausea or vomiting, loss of consciousness). As for any other vaccine, children…, Should I still immunize my child if they have already had measles, mumps or rubella?, We should still immunize our children against these diseases, even if they had one of the diseases in the past. The MMR vaccine protects our child against three diseases (measles, mumps and rubella) with the same injection. A previous infection with one disease cannot protect our child against all three of them. Remember: some diseases, including…, Does the MMR vaccine cause autism?, No. Many studies have shown that the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine and other vaccines do not cause autism. The link between the MMR vaccine and autism is a myth that keeps circulating online, but it has been shown to be completely wrong by study after study. The MMR vaccine is safe and protects our children against measles, mumps and rubella…, What are the potential side effects of the MMR vaccine?, Like any other vaccine or medicine, the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine can have some side effects, but they are mostly mild and temporary. The MMR vaccine is safe and effective, and protects our children against measles, mumps and rubella, which are dangerous diseases that can cause severe harm and even death. Serious adverse reactions to the…