“National prioritization of vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic: A multi-country policy tracker

Project Status:

Ongoing Projects

Lead Faculty:

Yusra Shawar

National policy responses to protect vulnerable population groups during the COVID-19 pandemic have varied significantly. Some countries have largely neglected these populations; others have paid attention to a large number of these groups; and still others have adopted policies that support some vulnerable populations and not others. While policy trackers exist for general economic and political policy responses to COVID-19, there is no such database with a health justice lens, accounting for policies aimed at supporting the welfare of vulnerable populations. Furthermore, there is little understanding of why countries are broadly prioritizing or neglecting vulnerable populations in their COVID-19 policy response, and why particular vulnerable groups are prioritized over others within countries. This project seeks to track national policy responses dedicated to supporting vulnerable populations (refugees, elderly, vulnerable children, prisoners, and disabled); explain variance in prioritization of vulnerable populations across and within countries; and provide policy guidance for advancing health equity in response to COVID-19. The project will therefore result in three products: 1) an open-source, multi-country database that tracks national policies aimed at supporting or protecting particular vulnerable populations; 2) an analysis delineating the factors shaping the level of priority vulnerable populations receive across and within countries; and 3) a policy brief that discusses implications and potential uses of the policy database, with a view to creating better policies that promote equity in response to COVID-19 and future crises.


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