Even before the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) a global health emergency, UNICEF had rushed six metric tons of medical supplies to the front lines. To date, UNICEF has delivered hundreds of millions of protective items for health workers along with urgently needed medical equipment and hygiene supplies to fight COVID-19. Key to UNICEF's effectiveness is its humanitarian warehouse in Copenhagen, the world's largest, which can ship emergency supplies anywhere in the world in 48 to 72 hours.
UNICEF and partners are leading efforts to ensure the equitable, affordable distribution of up to 1.4 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the world in 2021. As head of procurement and supply for COVAX — a multilateral initiative co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) — UNICEF is pre-positioning syringes and coordinating and supporting purchasing, international freight and in-country distribution of approved vaccines in the largest and fastest immunization project in the history of the planet. But it will take more than COVID-19 vaccines to end the pandemic. UNICEF is also leading on preventative actions in communities, aiding the development of rapid diagnostics and treatments and helping countries strengthen their health systems.
When schools closed temporarily, interrupting the education of up to 94 percent of the world's students, UNICEF immediately focused on finding ways to help children keep learning through online classes, radio broadcasts and other forms of remote instruction. In 2020, UNICEF supported over 300 million children with distance and home-based learning and worked closely with education partners to help schools that have reopened operate safely.
Vaccines are only part of the job. It will also take diagnostics, treatment and an effort to re-strengthen overburdened health systems.
In 2020, UNICEF and partners delivered:
UNICEF helped reach 3 billion people with COVID-19 prevention messaging in 2020. At a time when fake news can do real harm, UNICEF is teaming up with Facebook, LinkedIn and TikTok to dispel rumors and make sure that health education messages specifically tailored for children, parents and caregivers, teachers, community leaders and the media reach all corners of the globe.
When children and teens need help, UNICEF delivers both emergency supplies and the tools young people need to take action. In Indonesia, where the nation's first case of COVID-19 was reported on March 2, 2020, UNICEF teamed up with the government to conduct a poll via U-Report — a youth engagement tool that uses mobile phones to connect with more than 68 million users worldwide — to test young people's knowledge of coronavirus. The poll generated 6,800 responses in three days and helped to identify what young people know and don't know about symptoms, transmission and prevention. Up-to-date messages on how to stay safe were shared with all 108,000 U-Reporters across the country. Results from the poll were used to create a COVID-19 chatbot that is being used in 52 countries and counting.
COVID-19 has upended children’s lives and forced them to quickly adapt to a new “normal.” These adjustments can feel isolating, scary and confusing. But showing children that we’re all in this fight against COVID-19 together is one great way to quell their fears, give them purpose and help them to feel a little braver.
It’s also important that children have the space to discuss how they’re feeling and what they’re experiencing. If they say they are anxious or show signs of distress — moodiness, hypervigilance about your health or theirs, difficulty sleeping — there are many ways you can help:
UNICEF has teamed up with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, USAID and others to provide tips and activities to help children and families cope with COVID-19. Click below to download!
UNICEF USA "Ask The Expert" Video Series with Child Psychologist, Dr. Tovah Klein on helping children cope with COVID-19
Another way to empower kids and show them they’re not alone: Encourage them to give back to their community. Millions of young students across the country have been affected by school closures, but they can still band together by helping to fight COVID-19 and keep themselves and their friends safe. UNICEF Kid Power offers a way to keep them moving and learning at home while making a difference.
Check out our virtual event for an inside look at how UNICEF responds to the world’s most pressing emergencies, including the coronavirus pandemic. These are stories from the front lines told with the help of a dedicated array of UNICEF supporters, including Cher, P!nk, Matthew Morrison, Jordin Sparks, Téa Leoni, Pau Gasol, Salma Hayek Pinault, Sofia Carson and more!
U.S. Fund for UNICEF d/b/a UNICEF USA is exempt from tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and qualifies for the maximum charitable contribution deduction by donors. Our Federal Identification Number is 13-1760110