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Inequalities in Covid-19 messaging: a systematic scoping review

Inequalities in Covid-19 messaging: a systematic scoping review

Kalocsanyiova, Erika ORCID: 0000-0002-3535-1084, Essex, Ryan ORCID: 0000-0003-3497-3137 and Fortune, Vanessa ORCID: 0000-0001-6983-5979 (2022) Inequalities in Covid-19 messaging: a systematic scoping review. Health Communication. ISSN 1041-0236 (Print), 1532-7027 (Online) (doi:

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The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been widely documented. While deaths are now in the millions and many more have been impacted in other ways, the impact of Covid-19 has not been felt equally, with it exacerbating existing inequalities and disproportionately impacting a number of populations. With this Covid-19 has created unprecedented challenges in relation to health communication, with the need to reach disadvantaged populations. This systematic scoping review sought to 1) synthesise the existing research regarding communication inequalities in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and 2) analyse the recommendations that emerge from this body of evidence on how to best address these inequalities. This review includes 40 studies that fell into three broad groups (1) those revealing a disadvantage or inequality in studies of general population; (2) those focussing on communication with sub-groups disproportionately affected by the pandemic; and (3) those reporting and evaluating practical attempts to address inequalities. The results largely corroborate those found in past pandemics, highlighting the role of sociodemographic, cultural/religious, and economic factors in facilitating/jeopardising the public’s capacity to access and act upon public health messaging. In a number of studies it was encouraging to see recommendations from the literature - particularly, lessons learnt on the importance of community partnerships, trusted messengers and the co-creation of health and risk messages - being applied, however many challenges remain unmet. Covid-19 has also highlighted the need to actively tackle misinformation, something which was recognised, but largely unaddressed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Covid-19; pandemic communication; health and risk messaging; inequalities; message tailoring
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development > Centre for Thinking and Learning
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2022 13:27

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