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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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Parents’ perceptions of children’s behavioral difficulties and the parent–child interaction during the COVID-19 lockdown

Avital Laufer; Mally Shechory Bitton

Published: November 2021   Journal: Journal of Family Issues
The study examined parents’ perceptions of their children’s behavioral difficulties (CBD) and positive parent–child interaction (PCI) during the first COVID-19 lockdown in Israel, as well as the associations among parents’ psychological distress, parents’ COVID-19–related worries, parents’ coping, and parents’ resilience. Participants were 437 parents of minor children. Parents reported more behavioral and emotional difficulties alongside with more quality time with their children. Parents’ distress and COVID-19–related worries were positively related to CBD. Emotion-focused coping mediated the association between psychological distress and CBD, while resilience mediated the association between distress and PCI.
Parenthood in the shadow of COVID-19: the contribution of gender, personal resources and anxiety to first time parents' perceptions of the infant

Miriam Chasson; Ofir Ben-Yaakov; Orit Taubman – Ben-Ari Taubman – Ben-Ari

Published: November 2021   Journal: Child & Family Social Work
This study sought to examine new parents' perceptions of their infant during the worldwide spread of COVID-19, exploring the contribution of gender, personal resources (attachment orientation, presence of meaning in life and intolerance of uncertainty) and COVID-19-related anxieties. A convenience sample of 606 Israeli first-time parents (137 fathers and 469 mothers), whose child was 3–12 months old, was recruited through social media during April 2020.
Parents’ attitudes toward children’s vaccination as a marker of trust in health systems

Orna Tal; Yifat Ne’eman; Rotem Sadia (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics
Children’s vaccination is a major goal in health-care systems worldwide; nevertheless, disparities in vaccination coverage expose socio-demographic accessibility gaps, unawareness, physicians’ disapproval and parents’ incomplete adherence reflecting insufficient public-provider trust. This study aimed to analyze parents’ attitude toward children’s vaccination in correlation with trust among stakeholders. A total of 1031 parents replied to a “snowball” questionnaire; 72% reported high trust in their physician, 42% trusted the authorities, 11% trusted internet groups. Among minorities, parents who fully vaccinate their children were younger, live in urban areas, eat all kinds of foods and trust the authorities, similar to the general population. Low adherence to children’s vaccination was correlated with trusting internet groups.
Early exploration of COVID-19 vaccination safety and effectiveness during pregnancy: interim descriptive data from a prospective observational study

Inna Bleicher; Einav Kadour-Peero; Lena Sagi-Dain (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Vaccine
During December 2020, a massive vaccination program was introduced in our country. The Pfizer-BioNTech, BNT162b2 vaccine was first offered exclusively to high-risk population, such as medical personnel (including pregnant women). This study compares short term outcomes in vaccinated vs. non-vaccinated pregnant women. In this prospective observational cohort study, vaccinated and non-vaccinated pregnant women were recruited using an online Google forms questionnaire targeting medical groups on Facebook and WhatsApp. A second questionnaire was sent one month after the first one for interim analysis.
Caregiver willingness to vaccinate their children against COVID-19 after adult vaccine approval

Ran D. Goldman; Danna Krupik; Samina Ali (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Vaccines against COVID-19 are likely to be approved for children under 12 years in the near future. Understanding vaccine hesitancy in parents is essential for reaching herd immunity. A cross-sectional survey of caregivers in 12 emergency departments (ED) was undertaken in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. This study compared reported willingness to vaccinate children against COVID-19 with an initial survey and post-adult COVID-19 vaccine approval. Multivariable logistic regression models were performed for all children and for those <12 years. A total of 1728 and 1041 surveys were completed in phases 1 and 2, respectively. Fewer caregivers planned to vaccinate against COVID-19 in phase 2 (64.5% and 59.7%, respectively; p = 0.002). The most significant positive predictor of willingness to vaccinate against COVID-19 was if the child was vaccinated per recommended local schedules. Fewer caregivers plan to vaccinate their children against COVID-19, despite vaccine approval for adults, compared to what was reported at the peak of the pandemic. Older caregivers who fully vaccinated their children were more likely to adopt vaccinating children. This study can inform target strategy design to implement adherence to a vaccination campaign.
Psychological distress, optimism and emotion regulation among Israeli Jewish and Arab pregnant women during COVID-19

Miriam Chasson; Taubman Ben-Ari; Salam Abu-Sharkia (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology

Pregnancy is a vulnerable period for women, and it is especially so under the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas there is some evidence for distress among pregnant women during the outspread of COVID-19, little is known about the second wave of the pandemic. This study therefore sought to examine the contribution of background variables, ethnicity (Jewish, Arab), personal resources (optimism, emotion regulation), and COVID-19-related anxieties to pregnant Israeli women’s psychological distress. A convenience sample of 1127 Israeli women was recruited from 5 July to 7 October 2020.

Mediation of mothers’ anxiety and parenting in children’s behavior problems during COVID-19

Keren Hanetz-Gamliel; Sigal Levy; Daphna G. Dollberg

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of Child and Family Studies
The outbreak of COVID-19 is affecting the lives of millions of families around the world. The current study was carried out in Israel, following the pandemic’s initial outbreak and during the resulting enforced quarantine, confining parents and children to their homes. A sample of 141 Israeli mothers with at least one child between the ages of 3 and 12 (M = 6.92, SD = 2.55) participated as volunteers. About half the sample (50.7%) consisted of girls. Most mothers were cohabiting with a spouse (93%). Mothers completed online questionnaires about their perceptions about the health and economic threats of COVID-19, availability of social support, their anxiety symptoms, hostile/coercive and supportive/engaged parenting behavior, and their children’s behavior problems.
Prenatal maternal COVID-19 vaccination and pregnancy outcomes

Tamar Wainstock; Israel Yoles; Ruslan Sergienko (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Vaccine

Prenatal maternal physiological changes may cause severe COVID-19 among pregnant women. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (BNT162b2 mRNA) has been shown to be highly effective and it is recommended for individuals aged ≥16 years, including pregnant women, although the vaccine has not been tested on the latter. This study aims to analyze the association between prenatal Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination, pregnancy course and outcomes. A retrospective cohort study was performed, including all women who delivered between January and June 2021 at Soroka University Medical Center, the largest birth center in Israel. Excluded were women diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past, multiple gestations or unknown vaccination status. Pregnancy, delivery and newborn complications were compared between women who received 1 or 2-dose vaccines during pregnancy and unvaccinated women. Multivariable models were used to adjust for background characteristics.

Objective behavioral measures in children before, during, and after the COVID-19 lockdown in Israel

Einat Shneor; Ravid Doron; Jonathan Levine (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Studies using questionnaires report that COVID-19 restrictions resulted in children spending significantly less time outdoors. This study used objective measures to assess the impact of pandemic-related restrictions on children's behavior. A total of 19 healthy 8-12-year-old boys were observed before and during social restriction periods. Of these, 11 boys were reassessed after restrictions were lifted. For each session, Actiwatches were dispensed for measures of time outdoors, activity, and sleep. Changes overall and by school status were assessed using signed-rank test and Wilcoxon rank sum tests.
SARS-CoV-2 antibodies started to decline just four months after COVID-19 infection in a paediatric population

Adin Breuer; Allon Raphael; Hagay Stern (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Acta Paediatrica

This study evaluated the prevalence of paediatric severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections using antibody testing and characterised antibody titres by time from exposure. This was a single-centre, prospective, cross-sectional cohort study. Patients under 18 years old were eligible to participate if they attended the paediatric emergency department at the tertiary Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel, from 18 October 2020 to 12 January 2021 and required blood tests or intravenous access. SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity and antibody levels were tested by a dual-assay model.

COVID-19-related anxieties and parenting stress among first-time mothers and fathers in their first year of parenthood

Ofir Ben-Yaakov; Orit Taubman Ben-Arit

Published: June 2021   Journal: Psychology & Health

The changes accompanying the transition to parenthood, joined by the fears aroused by the COVID-19 pandemic, may lead to high levels of parental anxieties and stress, particularly among parents of young infants. This study, conducted in the midst of the crisis, explores the level of COVID-19-related anxieties and parenting stress of Israeli parents in their first year of parenthood. First-time mothers (n = 469) and fathers (n = 137), aged 21-50, completed self-report questionnaires in April, 2020. They were divided into two groups: parents of younger infants (aged 3-6 months); parents of older infants (aged 7-12 months).

Vaccinating children and adolescents against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2): the Israeli experience

Daniel Glikman; Michal Stein; Eric S. Shinwell

Published: June 2021   Journal: Acta Paediatrica
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to almost all countries, with many severely affected. Vaccines, in general, have proven their profound value in preventing illnesses and terminating epidemics, as seen for example in measles, polio and smallpox. Vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are already showing a significant positive impact on the number of COVID-19 cases in countries with a rapid and effective roll-out of vaccinations. Israel is among world leaders, with an effective vaccination campaign that began at the end of December 2020. Vaccines are free of charge and given to all adults. Indeed, as of 13 May 2021, 63% of the population have received at least one dose and 59% are fully vaccinated.1 Vaccine coverage is lower in minorities in Israel but steadily increasing, as seen for example in the Arab population: in mid-February 2021, 19% were vaccinated with at least one dose, while by May 2021, 54% were already fully vaccinated. Accordingly, the daily number of new COVID-19 cases in Israel has declined from 10 000 at the peak of the third wave in January 2021 to less than 100 in May this year
Coronavirus disease and vaccination during pregnancy and childbirth: a review of the Israeli perspective and experience

Eran Hadar; Sarah Dollinger; Arnon Wiznitzer

Published: June 2021   Journal: The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine

This paper aims to discuss selected aspects of our local and national experience in treating and vaccinating pregnant women with SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 disease. A comprehensive, retrospective review of COVID-19 parturients in our center as well as a detailed literature review of several aspects from the groundbreaking research done in Israel to investigate the direct obstetrical impact of COVID-19, indirect effect of the lockdown measures and the vaccination effort among pregnant women.

Continued participation of Israeli adolescents in online sports programs during the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with higher resilience

Keren Constantini; Irit Markus; Naomi Epel (et al.)

Published: April 2021   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research Public Health
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has forced adolescents to adapt rapidly to a new reality of physical and social distancing, while introducing a range of new sources of stress and adversity. This research primary aim was to study the relationship between adolescents’ resilience and their participation in online sports programs during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown period. Its secondary aims were to assess the associations between the organized sports programs’ determinants and resilience.
Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on behavioral and emotional aspects and daily routines of Arab Israeli children

Rafat Ghanamah; Hazar Eghbaria-Ghanamah

Published: March 2021   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Negative psychological effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been identified in adults and children, such as anxiety and sleep disorders. However, research about the impact of this pandemic on children from ethnical minorities is scarce. We tested the effects of COVID-19 outbreak on psychological aspects and daily routines among Arab Israeli Children. An online crosssectional survey was conducted among Arab Israeli parents, including behavioral and emotional aspects questionnaire and questions addressing using of screens, sleep, and physical activities.
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UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.


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UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiatives we’ve begun will provide the broad range of evidence needed to inform our work to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and preparation of interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The research projects cover a rapid review of evidence, education analysis, and social and economic policies.