Study reveals the cycle of health inequity faced by migrants

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

While COVID-19 has affected everyone, the pandemic has exacerbated the vulnerability of migrants.

male and female sitting in a hospital waiting room wearing face masks

A new study led by Newcastle Business School researchers reveals the vicious cycle of health inequity and challenges faced by migrants. An in-depth review of the vaccination policies and outcomes of COVID-19 cases was undertaken in five countries – Australia, United States, Canada, Japan and South Korea.

The study shows how in Australia systemic discrimination fuelled inequitable access to vaccinations. For example, migrants on temporary visas could not be vaccinated in private general practices, and only had options to go through public sites, where wait times were longer. Along with increased risk of contracting and spreading the virus, for those working in industries with vaccine mandates, this meant longer without work and pay.

Aptly timed with Australia’s skilled worker shortage, the study highlights the societal impact if migrants continue to be marginalised. It also urges that equity-based vaccination policy leads to overall societal benefit to public health.

The research was led by Chiara Berardi, Dr Jeannie Lee, Dr Heidi WechtlerProfessor Francesco Paolucci, of the University’s Newcastle Business School in the College of Human and Social Futures.

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