What is it about?

We study health literacy of migrants, notably immigrants whom we determined could be socioeconomically vulnerable based on previous studies. Using a targeted sample, we measured health literacy: finding relevant information, understanding this information, then evaluating the information, and finally applying it to draw the right conclusions. We find that most migrants were well informed about the pandemic. Using an extended index of health literacy, we found a moderate correlation between health literacy and socioeconomic vulnerability. The most vulnerable migrants tended to have more difficulty finding and understanding relevant health information. They also adhered more to unscientific theses that were not part of the official communication, like thinking that drinking hot tea can prevent COVID-19. We conclude that only some migrants are vulnerable and have lower health literacy.

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Why is it important?

Public health interventions can become ineffective if they do not reach everyone. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus could keep spreading if some people are not reached, putting everyone at risk.


Even among the targeted sample we found many migrants who were just as well informed as the general population. So really, we should not focus on nationality, but dig deeper and consider vulnerability.

Didier Ruedin
Universite de Neuchatel

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: COVID-19-Related Health Literacy of Socioeconomically Vulnerable Migrant Groups, International Journal of Public Health, June 2022, Frontiers, DOI: 10.3389/ijph.2022.1604664.
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