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Survey of older migrants in Finland underlines the importance of accessible information on COVID-19 vaccination

Thursday 01 April 2021

Similar to many EU countries, vaccinations against COVID-19 have been available in Finland since the end of December 2020. A recent survey carried out by the Finnish Multicultural Memory Centre (MUKES) highlighted the importance of overcoming language barriers to ensure accessibility of information and services to older minority ethnic and/or migrant groups. In their new report, MUKES evaluate whether this language barrier also impedes access by these groups to COVID-19 vaccination information and services.

Together with their Working Group of 6 organisations supporting older people from migrant and/or minority ethnic backgrounds, MUKES performed telephone interviews with 121 individuals aged over 50 in Finland, speaking 9 different native languages including Russian, Arabic, Chinese and Estonian. Many of those surveyed did not speak Finnish or English. Whilst almost half were keen to be vaccinated, many respondents wanted more information on the safety and benefits of the vaccine to make a decision. In addition, many respondents felt that they had not received enough information on how vaccinations were being organised in their local area. Over half the respondents stated that they would need support to obtain information and book appointments for vaccination, with many indicating that they would prefer to receive information about these aspects by letter, and in their native language.  Vaccine preferences appeared to vary depending the language grouping of respondents. For example, Russian-speaking respondents stated that they would prefer to receive Sputnik V, while Chinese speakers were more confident in vaccines made in their own country.