A vicious cycle of health (IN)equity: Migrant inclusion in light of COVID-19

General Information

A vicious cycle of health (IN)equity: Migrant inclusion in light of COVID-19
Chiara Berardi, Eun Su Lee, Heidi Wechtler, Francesco Paolucci
Publication Type
Journal paper
Health Policy and Technology
Objectives: Whilst mass vaccination is suggested as an important means to contain COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination policies across many countries have systematically excluded some groups of population, especially migrants. This study aims to document the impact of diversified vaccination strategies as a preventative and control measure for the health and safety of the wider population within a country.

Methods: We selected five countries that have experienced the changes in migrant inflows to the most extreme among OECD countries in 2020: The United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, and South Korea. We conducted an extensive qualitative documentary analysis focused on policies and interventions implemented in these countries since January 2020 till the end of September 2021. We also analyzed publicly available epidemiological data (released by the governments and other international organizations).

Results: We find that achieving migrants’ health and vaccination equity is not without challenges, and the failure to address those multiplicity of concerns may result in a vicious cycle for the vulnerable population at the fringes of our economy. Migrants continue to face extenuating circumstances with higher risks to their health and safety, when they are excluded or disadvantaged in vaccination policies. The more inclusive and proactive the governments are in consideration of diversity of migrant populations, the better they can manage the pandemic, which leads to overall societal benefit of ensuring public health.

Conclusions: Equity-based policies can mitigate disparities in access to vaccination and healthcare, thereby reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the community.