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The introduction of COVID-19 vaccination has been unprecedented in scope and challenges. While the risk of severe disease is lower in children and adolescents, vaccination significantly reduces the risk of severe complications in young people. Not only does vaccination protect children and adolescents from severe illness and death on an individual level, but increasing COVID-19 vaccination coverage among young people is critical to curbing overall community transmission of the disease at the population level.
Drawing on the UNICEF Innocenti Children and COVID-19 Research Library, this issue of the digest summarizes evidence of factors influencing caregiver decision-making attitudes and behaviours regarding vaccinating children and adolescents against COVID-19. Eleven research papers are spotlighted along with some practical tools to support caregiver decision-making and enhance vaccine uptake. The evidence, insights and lessons from these studies can help policymakers and health practitioners better support caregivers to make important decisions related to the health of their children and communities.
Progress towards SDG 4 – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all – was already in jeopardy before COVID-19. The world was facing a learning crisis, with 48% of children unable to read and understand a simple text by the age of 10.
For the most marginalized children, the learning crisis was even more severe. In low-income countries, 94% of girls (and 93% of boys) were not able to read by the age of 10, compared with 7% of girls (and 8% of boys) in high-income countries. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing disparities to the detriment of the girls and boys who were already being left behind.
This digest spotlights 13 research papers, and summarizes lessons and evidence of the impacts of COVID-19 on marginalized girls’ learning, drawing from UNICEF Innocenti’s Children and COVID-19 Research Library launched in 2020.
Research and data on children with disabilities around
the globe remains critical as these children continue
to be left behind. This is despite near-universal ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
and the extensive ratification of the Convention on
the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Evidence is
growing that the COVID-19 pandemic, through both
the virus itself and the measures implemented by
governments to contain its spread, have disproportionately impacted children with disabilities and their
This digest focuses on the emerging evidence of
the impacts of COVID-19 on children with disabilities, drawing from UNICEF Innocenti’s Children
and COVID-19 Research Library, launched in 2020.
Alessandra Guedes; Floriza Gennari
Even before COVID-19, over 1 billion children (aged 2–17 years) reported experiencing sexual, physical or emotional violence every year. Across their lifetimes, 1 in 3 women are subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner. Violence against children and against women are highly interconnected. Children who witness or experience violence are more likely to perpetrate it or be victimized in adulthood, thus continuing the cycle of violence.
This digest highlights 13 newly curated research papers on the topic of COVID-19 and violence against children, selected based on criteria such as relevance to children's rights; a diversity of research methodology; and insights from low- and middle-income countries.
The impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of children and youth has been near ubiquitous. Resilience factors are significant in enhancing and supporting mental health in the COVID-19 era. Our first COVID-19 Quarterly Thematic Digest presents research highlights from our growing Children and COVID-19 Research library.
In this inaugural digest we spotlight 11 studies on mental health that were all generated in the first half of 2021. These research papers address an array of subjects related to the impact of COVID-19 on child and youth mental that include disorders such as anxiety, depression, suicide ideation and compulsive internet gaming, as well as risk factors such as HIV or refugee status, and responses such as art therapy and parenting and caregiver programmes. These studies have been undertaken in a range of countries and regions and include several multi-country analyses.
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