Several studies have shown the effects of social and health inequalities on the transmission of COVID-19. Additionally, COVID-19 vaccination campaigns have also highlighted the link between vaccine hesitancy and vulnerable populations in Western countries. While early research emphasized risk factors for severe forms of the disease such as age and comorbidities, some researchers suggest expanding the study of COVID-19 by using the concept of syndemics to emphasize the interplay of diseases, biological, social, and environmental factors that, through their synergy, worsen the consequences of these diseases on a population. While these epidemiological and social determinants of COVID-19 have been researched, the study of the health and social consequences of population-wide measures (lockdowns, partial unemployment, school closures, etc.) on social and health inequalities has been rarely addressed. This G3 project aims to highlight the research conducted in order to prepare an in-depth and interdisciplinary comparative study of the effects of these measures on vulnerable populations in Montreal, Geneva, and Brussels.
The objectives of this project are: a) to provide a comparative analysis of the COVID-19 syndemic (epidemiology, health, and social measures) in the three cities based on existing research, especially by the research units in this proposal; b) to identify innovations and resources mobilized by collective community and associative actors in response to the pandemic and health inequalities; and c) to develop a comparative research project focused on analyzing the effects of health and social policies implemented to combat COVID-19, including vaccination, on the most vulnerable populations in the three cities by examining the connections and gaps between the various actors involved (at the health and social levels). More specifically, this G3 project aims, based on existing work, to address various research questions:
- Regarding COVID-19, what are the social health inequalities in Montreal, Geneva, and Brussels, and how do they compare?
- What are the main population-wide measures to combat COVID-19, and what are the main social measures implemented in Montreal, Geneva, and Brussels, and how do they compare?
- What would be the assumptions about the impacts of these measures on vulnerable populations (from the perspective of individuals, associations, and healthcare professionals)?
The ambition of this G3 project is, on the one hand, to gather research results on this theme (through virtual seminars by interdisciplinary teams, a closing conference, and a collective publication by the universities' publishing houses) and, on the other hand, to develop joint research projects for the three interdisciplinary teams (medicine, epidemiology, and sociology) on the proposed theme to be submitted to FRQ/FNS/FNRS.