First Focus on Children sent the following letter to President Joe Biden as well as Secretary of State Antony Blinken, USAID Administrator Samantha Power, and the White House COVID-19 Response Team urging them to create a plan for children of all ages around the globe to receive the vaccine as equitably and effectively as possible.

Excerpt from the letter:

Globally, children have carried some of the heaviest burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis. During the pandemic, children have faced increased food insecurity and poverty. For example, approximately 80 million children under 18 were unable to access critical vaccines. School closures due to the pandemic have affected 1.6 billion children, and at least one-third of children globally have been unable to access remote learning. Sixty-six percent of countries reported disruption in violence prevention programming, meaning that 1.8 billion children faced increased risk of forced labor, sexual exploitation, and abuse in the home. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated physical and sexual violence against girls. UNICEF estimates that the pandemic will push 142 million children into poverty, most of whom are in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Updated data from a study published in The Lancet now estimates that 4.9 million children worldwide have lost a parent, custodial grandparent, or primary caregiver because of the pandemic. That is 1 child every six seconds losing a caregiver due to COVID-19.

Read the full letter.