Challenges in communicating evidence and policies in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic – experiences from Denmark

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Early during the COVID-19 pandemic health authorities and media in the Scandinavian countries identified an increased incidence of infections among migrants compared to the majority population. Specific neighbourhoods and communities were presented as having high incidence rates, hospitalisations and mortality. These populations were profiled by country of birth - in Denmark often categorised as non-Western immigrants which is a broad label generally presented in policy debates and by Statistics Denmark. The public discourse quickly associated this category with common Danish concepts such as parallel societies or ghetto's - the latter being a label that officially was used recently to identify communities with many immigrants and social challenges. The debate signified a frequent view that these population groups were less caring about their health, more suspicious or less motivated to comply with information from public authories and with little interest in engaging in testing and preventive activities- thereby representing a risk for the further spread of the disease and an additional burdon for health care. Only after intensive interference from migrant health experts and initiatives from the National Health Authority a more nuanced public communication gave room for description of housing and working characteristics that were common in some of the migrant communities.This slowly created more insights and acceptance of real causes of the disparities and a platform for more respectful, inclusive and efficient preventive interventions. The presentation will report on the process involved and the way the change of language had an impact on the public health policies and practice during the pandemic in Denmark.
TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Public Health
Udgave nummerSupplement 2
Antal sider2
StatusUdgivet - 2024

ID: 377782620