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SAMRISK-2-Samfunnssikkerhet og risiko

Socioeconomic risk groups, vaccination and pandemic influenza

Alternative title: Sosioøkonomiske risikogrupper, vaksinering og pandemisk influensa

Awarded: NOK 11.2 mill.

Project Number:

302336

Application Type:

Project Period:

2020 - 2023

Location:

Subject Fields:

Partner countries:

A new influenza pandemic was on the World Health Organization's list of the 10 biggest threats to global health in both 2018 and 2019. The reason being that pandemics lead to a high numbers of people falling ill, being hospitalized and dying. Influenza also leads to huge economic burdens from both direct health care spending and indirect costs due to lockdowns. The disease burden and the locdowns under COVID-19 clearly shows the negative consequences of a pandemic. The core idea of the project Socioeconomic risk groups, vaccination and pandemic influenza (PANRISK) is that influenza has always been more than just a medical problem and that its epidemiology and impact have been profoundly shaped by social and economic structures, thus affecting who falls ill, who dies, and who survives. PANRISK will therefore document the socioeconomic status of risk groups for severe influenza outcomes, especially those with chronic diseases, and investigate how social disparities in income and education can lead to social disparities in pandemic influenza outcomes and vaccine uptake. Further, the project will explore how social disparities in influenza vaccine uptake may produce social disparities in influenza outcomes and later-life health and mortality. In a recently published systematic literature review and meta-analysis, we show that groups with the lowest socioeconomic status had 1.4 times higher risk of serious illness during the Spanish flu in 1918 and the swine flu in 2009 relative to groups with the highest socioeconomic status. Current vaccination programs or policies discussed in international or national influenza preparedness plans do not sufficiently take into account how to reduce social disparities in morbidity and mortality. PANRISK will therefore discuss how public health policy makers can increase vaccine uptake and compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions among medically and socially vulnerable groups, in order to reduce social disparities in morbidity and mortality from influenza. The project is led by researchers from the Work Research Institute (AFI) at OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University. Additional team members include researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Umeå University and Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

Influenza pandemics are most pressing global threats to human life and security. The core idea of PANRISK is that influenza has always been more than just a medical problem and that its epidemiology and impact have been profoundly shaped by social and economic structures, thus affecting who falls ill, who dies, and who survives. While the state of the art mainly studies medical risk factors, PANRISK propose to study the “forgotten” socioeconomic risk factors for unequal influenza outcomes, vaccination uptake and health consequences. Using a variety of quantitative techniques and data from surveys, registers and laboratories and data from unique purpose-built databases for Norway (2009-2018) and international data from the last five pandemics (1889-2009), we ask four novel questions: 1) what is the socioeconomic status (SES) of the chronically ill, and 2) to what extent is there an association between SES and pandemic outcomes? 3) how does SES affect vaccination uptake and 4) what are the health consequences for various SES groups of increased vaccination uptake? PANRISK undertakes finding socioeconomic inequalities in epidemic and pandemic influenza outcomes and the role of social factors in vaccine uptake and repercussions of social disparities in vaccine uptake for health and mortality disparities. This is a novel approach to pandemics by emphasizing the need to examine risk as a social and not just a medical phenomena. Our new methodological frame will serve future research on (re)emerging pandemics of influenza or other infectious diseases. PANRISK consist of 10 established researchers with strong expertise in influenza, survey and register studies, historical demography, epidemiology, anthropology, RRI, medicine, public health and policy making. The Project will also recruit a Post-Doc. Findings will be pivotal for pandemic preparedness planning; discussing the priority list for vaccination; optimizing the interventions; and saving human & social losses.

Publications from Cristin

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Funding scheme:

SAMRISK-2-Samfunnssikkerhet og risiko