Exploring Knowledge, Prevention Methods, and Prevention Barriers of COVID-19 Among Somali, Karen, and Latinx Community Members in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Margaret Harris, Angela Ekwonye, Leso Munala, Heather Buesseler, Mary O. Hearst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, understanding the virus and necessary measures to prevent infection have evolved. While effective preventative measures for COVID-19 have been identified, there are also identifiable barriers to implementation. Objective: Explore the access to information, knowledge, and prevention methods and barriers of COVID-19 among Somali, Karen, and Latinx immigrant community members in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA through analysis of in-depth interviews. Methods: Data were collected through 32 interviews via phone, video conference on a computer, or in-person with Somali, Karen, and Latinx adults to understand the experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic in each group’s native language. All participants were over the age of 18, and identified as Somali, Karen, and Latinx refugee or immigrant. Interview protocol contained 9 main questions including probes. Data were analyzed through use of the qualitative analysis software, Atlas.ti using phenomenology. Results: A total of 32 adults were interviewed (Somali = 12, Karen = 10, and Latinx = 10). One-third were in person and the remainder were remote. The average age recorded was 37 years (range 20-66 years), 43.8% males and 56.3% females. Somali, Karen, and Latinx respondents consistently had accurate knowledge about COVID-19 and were attentive to finding trustworthy information. Information was available in Somali, Karen, and Latinx written language, although Karen elders who are not literate would benefit more from video messaging. Knowledge of preventive measures was consistent; however, barriers included access, working in front-line positions, and living in high density housing. Conclusion: Exploring the impact of COVID-19 on Somali, Karen, and Latinx community members in Minneapolis, MN is advantageous in removing identified barriers and disparities in health. The results of this study highlight the need for increased efforts to address barriers in the prevention of COVID-19, as well as future pandemics for immigrant and refugee populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Primary Care and Community Health
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: GHR Innovative Scholars program and Academic Professional Development Committee funding through St. Catherine University.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • barriers
  • COVID-19
  • immigrants
  • impact
  • pandemic
  • prevention
  • refugees


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