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1.
Vaccine ; 2022 Oct 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2086814

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Polarized debates about Covid-19 vaccination and vaccine mandates for healthcare workers (HCWs) challenge Belgian HCWs ability to discuss Covid-19 vaccine sentiments with peers and patients.Although studies have identified drivers of HCWs vaccine hesitancy, they do not include effects of workplace interactions and have not addressed consequences beyond vaccine coverage. METHODS: Interviews and focus group discussions with 74 HCWs practicing in Belgium addressed Covid-19 vaccine sentiments and experiences of discussing vaccination with peers and patients. RESULTS: Most participating HCWs reported difficulties discussing Covid-19 vaccination with peers and patients. Unvaccinated HCWs often feared that expressing their vaccine sentiments might upset patients or peers and that they would be suspended. Consequently, they used social cues to evaluate others' openness to vaccine-skeptical discourses and avoided discussing vaccines. Surprisingly, some vaccine-confident HCWs hid their vaccine sentiments to avoid peer and patient conflicts. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated HCWs observed that unvaccinated patients occasionally received suboptimal care. Suboptimal care was central in unvaccinated HCW unwillingness to express their vaccine sentiments to peers. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated HCWs described loss of trust and ruptured social relations with peers and patients holding divergent vaccine sentiments. DISCUSSION: Belgian HCW perceived Covid-19 vaccines as a risky discussion topic and engaged in "strategic silences" around vaccination to maintain functional work relationships and employment in health institutions. Loss of trust between HCW and peers or patients, along with suboptimal patient care based on vaccination status, threaten to weaken Belgium's, and by implication, other health systems, and to catalyze preventable disease outbreaks.

2.
Int J Equity Health ; 21(1): 67, 2022 05 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1846842

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In high income countries, racialized/ethnic minorities are disproportionally affected by COVID-19. Despite the established importance of community involvement in epidemic preparedness, we lack in-depth understanding of these communities' experiences with and responses to COVID-19. We explored information and prevention needs, coping mechanisms with COVID-19 control measures and their impact on lived experiences among selected racialized/ethnic minority communities. METHODS: This qualitative rapid assessment conducted in Antwerp/Belgium used an interpretative and participatory approach. We included migrant communities with geographic origins ranging from Sub-Saharan Africa, North-Africa to the Middle East, Orthodox Jewish communities and professional community workers. Data were collected between May 2020-May 2021 through key informant-, in-depth interviews and group discussions (N = 71). Transcripts were analyzed inductively, adopting a reflexive thematic approach. A community advisory board provided feedback throughout the research process. RESULTS: Participants indicated the need for tailored information in terms of language and timing. At the start of the epidemic, they perceived official public health messages as insufficient to reach all community members. Information sources included non-mainstream (social) media and media from home countries, hampering a nuanced understanding of virus transmission mechanisms and local and national protection measures. Participants felt the measures' most negative impact on their livelihoods (e.g. loss of income, disruption of social and immigration support). Economic insecurity triggered chronic stress and fears at individual and family level. High degrees of distrust in authorities and anticipated stigma were grounded in previously experienced racial and ethnic discrimination. Community-based initiatives mitigated this impact, ranging from disseminating translated and tailored information, providing individual support, and successfully reaching community members with complex needs (e.g. the elderly, digitally illiterate people, those with small social networks or irregular legal status). CONCLUSION: Study participants' narratives showed how coping with and responding to COVID-19 was strongly intertwined with socio-economic and ethnic/racial characteristics. This justifies conceptualizing COVID-19 a social disease. At the same time, communities demonstrated resilience in responding to these structural vulnerabilities. From a health equity perspective, we provide concrete policy recommendations grounded in insights into communities' structural vulnerabilities and resilience.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Aged , Belgium , COVID-19/prevention & control , Ethnic and Racial Minorities , Ethnicity , Humans , Minority Groups
3.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296881

ABSTRACT

Background: In high income countries, racialized/ethnic minorities are disproportionally affected by COVID-19. We lack in-depth understanding of these communities’ experiences with and responses to COVID-19 despite the established importance of community involvement in epidemic preparedness. We explored information and prevention needs, coping mechanisms with COVID-19 control measures and their impact on lived experiences among selected racialized/ethnic minority communities. Methods: This qualitative rapid assessment conducted in Antwerp/Belgium used an interpretative and participatory approach. We included migrant communities with geographic origins ranging from Sub-Saharan Africa, North-Africa to the Middle East, Orthodox Jewish communities and community workers working with these groups. Data were collected between May 2020 - May 2021 through key informant-, in-depth interviews and group discussions (N=71). Transcripts were analyzed inductively, adopting a reflexive thematic approach. A community advisory board provided feedback throughout the research process. Results: Participants indicated the need for tailored information in terms of language and timing. At the start of the epidemic, they perceived official public health messages as insufficient to reach all community members. Information sources included non-mainstream (social) media and media from home countries, hampering a nuanced understanding of virus transmission mechanisms and local and national protection measures. Participants felt the measures’ most negative impact on their livelihoods (e.g. loss of income, disruption of social and immigration support). Economic insecurity triggered chronic stress and fears at individual and family level. High degrees of distrust in authorities and anticipated stigma were grounded in previously experienced racial and ethnic discrimination. Community-based initiatives mitigated this impact, ranging from disseminating translated and tailored information, providing individual support, and successfully reaching community members with complex needs (e.g. the elderly, digitally illiterate people, those with small social networks or irregular legal status). Conclusion: Study participants’ narratives showed how coping with and responding to COVID-19 was strongly intertwined with socio-economic and ethnic/racial characteristics, justifying conceptualizing COVID-19 a social disease. At the same time, communities demonstrated resilience in responding to these structural vulnerabilities. From a health equity perspective, we provide concrete policy recommendations grounded in insights into communities’ structural vulnerabilities and resilience.

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