10 October 2022

#OnMyMind: Better mental health for every child

In every part of the world, poor mental health causes suffering for children and young people. It is a top cause of death, disease and disability, especially for older adolescents. Half of all mental health conditions start by 14 years of age, but most cases go undetected and untreated. Every child has the right to grow up in loving, nurturing and…, Get involved, Learn what needs to happen For parents For young people For policymakers and partners, What needs to happen,   Positive mental health means better life outcomes for children. To achieve this, UNICEF is calling for investment and action to support and protect all children and young people, and a focus on ending neglect, abuse and childhood traumas. Investment for all: Greater and better investment in mental health and psychosocial support services for all…, For parents: Start the conversation,   Far too many children deal with mental health challenges on their own. As parents, we can change that by providing nurturing, loving environments for our children and teenagers, and asking the simple questions – how are you doing, what’s on our mind? Here are tips and resources to do just that whatever age your child might be:, For young people: Share, talk and help each other, Young people around the world are breaking the silence around mental health conditions by speaking out. Learn about the issue and talk about it in a way that prevents misinformation and encourages people to ask for help when they need it. Talk about how you are feeling and reach out and connect with others if you need support or are concerned for…, For policymakers, researchers and partners,   Globally about two per cent of government health budgets are allocated to mental health spending. In some countries it’s less than US$1 per person. These figures fall far short of treating mental health conditions, especially for those facing the greatest challenges, and promoting positive mental health for all. We pay a high economic price for…, Impact and stories, The latest on mental health
26 April 2022

The COVID-19 vaccine success stories

When UNICEF helped launch the largest vaccine operation effort in history, the focus was to make sure that every community was protected from COVID-19. And since the COVAX initiative began in February 2021, more than 1.4 billion doses have reached more than 140 countries.   In some cases, a vaccine represents an opportunity to see and hug a…, Thanks to more vaccines and the efforts of volunteers, Bangladesh's vaccination rate has risen sharply , When the first COVID-19 vaccines supplied by COVAX touched down in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, in June 2021, less than four per cent of all adults were fully vaccinated. Fast forward less than a year and that number has risen dramatically. By the beginning of April, 67 per cent of the population had received two doses.   COVAX has played a…, Grandparents in Peru are able to see and hug their grandchildren thanks to the COVID-19 vaccines  , Artemio Baldoceda is a grandfather and he speaks for so many when he describes what it means to him to get the COVID-19 vaccine.  “Joy in my heart because I’m getting a little more life to have my family, and for my family to have me. You miss the grandchildren, especially. One waits for that moment to come when you can bear hug them.”  Artemio…, Viet Nam’s vaccination rate has soared in just half a year, meaning that almost every adult is now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 , There’s been a rapid rise in the COVID-19 vaccination rate in Viet Nam over the past few months. In September 2021, less than 10 per cent of all adults in the country had received both doses. But by April 2022, more than 78 per cent of those aged over 12-years had been given two shots.  UNICEF has been working with Viet Nam’s government to provide…, Making sure that remote and disaster-prone communities in the Philippines have access to COVID-19 vaccines  , In the Philippines, the COVID-19 vaccination rate has risen significantly recently. Back in September 2021, less than 18 per cent of the population had been fully vaccinated. Half a year later, by April 2022, that vaccination rate now stands at more than 59 per cent. About one in three of all the COVID-19 vaccines that have been given to people in…, COVAX moving forward, As the number of COVID-19 vaccines on the market has increased, there are today enough doses to meet the needs of low- and middle-income countries. So, the focus now is less about resolving supply constraints. Instead, the priority moving forward is to make sure that vaccines are turned into vaccinations. That means supporting countries with…
24 April 2022

Everything you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines

Vaccines save millions of lives each year. The development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are a crucial step in helping us get back to doing more of the things we enjoy with the people we love. We’ve gathered the latest expert information to answer some of the most common questions about COVID-19 vaccines. Keep checking back as we will…, What are the benefits of getting vaccinated?, Vaccines save millions of lives each year and a COVID-19 vaccine could save yours. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, providing strong protection against serious illness and death. WHO reports that unvaccinated people have at least 10 times higher risk of death from COVID-19 than someone who has been vaccinated.  It is important to be…, Who should be vaccinated first?, Each country must identify priority populations, which WHO recommends are frontline health workers (to protect health systems) and those at highest risk of death due to COVID-19, such as older adults and people with certain medical conditions. Other essential workers, such as teachers and social workers, should then be prioritized, followed by…, When shouldn’t you be vaccinated against COVID-19?, If you have any questions about whether you should receive a COVID-19 vaccine, speak to your healthcare provider. At present, people with the following health conditions should not receive a COVID-19 vaccine to avoid any possible adverse effects: If you have a history of severe allergic reactions to any ingredients of a COVID-19 vaccine. If you…, Should I get vaccinated if I already had COVID-19?, Yes, you should get vaccinated even if you’ve previously had COVID-19. While people who recover from COVID-19 may develop natural immunity to the virus, it is still not certain how long that immunity lasts or how well it protects you against COVID-19 reinfection. Vaccines offer more reliable protection, especially against severe illness and death…, Which COVID-19 vaccine is best for me?, All WHO-approved vaccines have been shown to be highly effective at protecting you against severe illness and death from COVID-19. The best vaccine to get is the one most readily available to you. You can find a list of those approved vaccines on WHO’s site .   Remember, if your vaccination involves two doses, it’s important to receive both to…, How do COVID-19 vaccines work?, Vaccines work by mimicking an infectious agent – viruses, bacteria or other microorganisms that can cause a disease. This ‘teaches’ our immune system to rapidly and effectively respond against it. Traditionally, vaccines have done this by introducing a weakened form of an infectious agent that allows our immune system to build a memory of it. This…, Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?, Yes, COVID-19 vaccines have been safely used to vaccinate billions of people. The COVID-19 vaccines were developed as rapidly as possible, but they all must go through rigorous testing in clinical trials to prove that they meet internationally agreed benchmarks for safety and effectiveness. Only if they meet these standards can a vaccine receive…, How were COVID-19 vaccines developed so quickly?, Scientists were able to develop safe effective vaccines in a relatively short amount of time due to a combination of factors that allowed them to scale up research and production without compromising safety:  Because of the global pandemic, there was a larger sample size to study and tens of thousands of volunteers stepped forward  Advancements in…, What are the side effects of COVID-19 vaccines?, Vaccines are designed to give you immunity without the dangers of getting the disease. Not everyone does, but it’s common to experience some mild-to-moderate side effects that go away within a few days on their own. Some of the mild-to-moderate side effects you may experience after vaccination include: Arm soreness at the injection site Mild fever…, How do I find out more about a particular COVID-19 vaccine?, You can find out more about COVID-19 vaccines on WHO’s website .  , Can I stop taking precautions after being vaccinated?, Keep taking precautions to protect yourself, family and friends if there is still COVID-19 in your area, even after getting vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against serious illness and death, but no vaccine is 100% effective.   The vaccines offer less protection against infection from the Omicron variant, which is now the…, Can I still get COVID-19 after I have been vaccinated? What are ‘breakthrough cases’?, A number of vaccinated people may get infected with COVID-19, which is called a breakthrough infection. In such cases, people are much more likely to only have milder symptoms. Vaccine protection against serious illness and death remains strong. With more infectious virus variants such as Omicron, there have been more breakthrough infections. That…, How long does protection from COVID-19 vaccines last?, Research is still ongoing to determine how long COVID-19 vaccines provide protection. According to WHO, most people have strong protection against serious illness and death for at least six months. This immunity may reduce faster for some people, including older age groups and those with underlying medical conditions., Do the COVID-19 vaccines protect against variants like Delta and Omicron?, The WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines continue to be highly effective at preventing severe illness and death, including against the Delta variant .  However, the vaccines offer less protection against infection from Omicron, which is now the dominant variant globally. That's why it's important to get vaccinated and continue measures to reduce the…, Do I need to get a booster shot?  , Booster doses play an important role in protecting against severe disease, hospitalization and death. In terms of when to get a booster shot, particularly if you're in a high-risk group, you should follow the recommendation of your local health authorities.  , Can I receive different types of COVID-19 vaccines?  , Yes, however, policies on mixing vaccines vary by country. Some countries have used different vaccines for the primary vaccine series and the booster. Check with your local health authorities for guidance where you live and speak with your healthcare provider if you have any questions on what is best for you. , I’m pregnant. Can I get vaccinated against COVID-19?, Yes, you can get vaccinated if you are pregnant. Although the overall risk of severe illness from COVID-19 remains low, pregnancy puts you at higher risk of severe illness compared to people who are not pregnant. Although there is less data available, evidence on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy has been growing, and no safety…, I’m breastfeeding. Should I get vaccinated against COVID-19?, Yes, if you are breastfeeding you should take the vaccine as soon as it is available to you. It is very safe and there is no risk to the mother or baby. None of the current COVID-19 vaccines have live virus in them, so there is no risk of you transmitting COVID-19 to your baby through your breastmilk from the vaccine. In fact, the antibodies that…, Can COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility?, No, you may have seen false claims on social media, but there is no evidence that any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines, can affect fertility in women or men. You should get vaccinated if you are currently trying to become pregnant., Could a COVID-19 vaccine disrupt my menstrual cycle?, Some people have reported experiencing a disruption to their menstrual cycle after getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Although data is still limited, research is ongoing into the impact of vaccines on menstrual cycles. Speak to your healthcare provider if you have concerns or questions about your periods., Should my child or teen get a COVID-19 vaccine?, An increasing number of vaccines are now being approved for use in children, so it’s important to stay informed of guidance by your local and national health authorities.  The Pfizer vaccine has been approved by WHO for use in children 5 years and older, and the Moderna vaccine has been approved for children 12 years and older. Children and…, How do I talk to my kids about COVID-19 vaccines?, News about COVID-19 vaccines is flooding our daily lives and it is only natural that curious young minds will have questions – lots of them. Read our explainer article for help explaining what can be a complicated topic in simple and reassuring terms., My friend or family member is against COVID-19 vaccines. How do I talk to them?, The development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a huge step forward in our global effort to end the pandemic. This is exciting news, but there are still some people who are skeptical or hesitant about COVID-19 vaccines. Chances are you know a person who falls into this category. We spoke to Dr. Saad Omer, Director at the Yale Institute…, How can I protect my family until we are all vaccinated?, Safe and effective vaccines are a game changer, but even once vaccinated we need to continue taking precautions for the time being to protect ourselves and others. The most important thing you can do is reduce your risk of exposure to the virus. To protect yourself and your loved ones, make sure to: Wear a mask where physical distancing from…, Can COVID-19 vaccines affect your DNA?, No, none of the COVID-19 vaccines affect or interact with your DNA in any way. Messenger RNA, or mRNA, vaccines teach the cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response inside the body. This response produces antibodies which keep you protected against the virus. mRNA is different from DNA and only stays inside the cell for about 72…, Do the COVID-19 vaccines contain any animal products in them?, No, none of the WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines contain animal products., I’ve seen inaccurate information online about COVID-19 vaccines. What should I do?, Sadly, there is a lot of inaccurate information online about the COVID-19 virus and vaccines. A lot of what we’re experiencing is new to all of us, so there may be some occasions where information is shared, in a non-malicious way, that turns out to be inaccurate. Misinformation in a health crisis can spread paranoia, fear and stigmatization. It…, What is COVAX?, COVAX is a global effort committed to the development, production and equitable distribution of vaccines around the world. No country will be safe from COVID-19 until all countries are protected. There are 190 countries and territories engaged in the COVAX Facility, which account for over 90 per cent of the world’s population. Working with CEPI,…