COVID-19 infection rates and use of SARS-CoV-2 testing among immigrants in Portugal: a longitudinal study for Amadora, Metropolitan Region of Lisbon, Portugal
More details
Hide details
Public Health Unit, Amadora Primary healthcare cluster, Lisboa, Portugal
Global Health and Tropical Medicine, GHTM, Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical, IHMT, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
Public Health Department, Regional Health Administration of Lisbon and Tagus Valley, Ministry of Health, Lisboa, Portugal
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1366
Available evidence from European countries suggests that migrants are at an increased risk of COVID-19 infection and present higher positivity rates. In Portugal, as in most EU countries, there are no studies on this subject. The aim of this study is to compare COVID-19 infection rates, use of SARS-CoV-2 testing and positivity rate between immigrants, particularly from outside the EU EFTA-UK, and native born in Amadora, Metropolitan Region of Lisbon, Portugal.

A longitudinal study was conducted between 1 May 2020 and 31 December 2021 using monthly data from Amadora residents collected from the National Epidemiological Surveillance System (SINAVE). COVID-19 infection rates, number of tests performed per person, and positivity rates were computed for native born, and immigrants (within EU EFTA-UK and outside) adjusting for sex and age using logistic regression.

We analysed 299 272 tests from individuals living in Amadora. The COVID-19 infection rate was 12 890 per 100 000, positivity rate was 7,4% and the average number of testes per resident was 1,74. Native born COVID-19 infection rate was 13 278 per 100 000 compared with 11 329 per 100 000 regarding immigrants outside EU EFTA-UK. While native born performed 1,6 times more tests, immigrants outside EU EFTA-UK positivity rates were higher (9,8% vs 7.2%). When adjusting for sex and age, immigrants outside EU EFTA-UK had a higher odd of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 when comparing with native born individuals (OR=1,42 [95% CI 1,36-1,49]).

Immigrants outside EU EFTA-UK are more likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection and less likely to perform COVID-19 diagnostic tests. This result suggests an unequal access to COVID-19 testing in Amadora, Portugal. Targeted efforts are needed to improve testing availability for immigrants and to understand reasons underlying these inequalities.

Journals System - logo
Scroll to top