gms | German Medical Science

20. Deutscher Kongress für Versorgungsforschung

Deutsches Netzwerk Versorgungsforschung e. V.

06. - 08.10.2021, digital

Parental views and uptake of (online) information about the COVID-19 (vaccine) – results of a qualitative-exploratory interview study with Arabic-speaking parents during the pandemic

Meeting Abstract

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  • Hala Altawil - Institut für Epidemiologie, Sozialmedizin und Gesundheitssystemforschung, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Hannover, Deutschland
  • Marie-Luise Dierks - Institut für Epidemiologie, Sozialmedizin und Gesundheitssystemforschung, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Hannover, Deutschland
  • Jonas Lander - Institut für Epidemiologie, Sozialmedizin und Gesundheitssystemforschung, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Hannover, Deutschland

20. Deutscher Kongress für Versorgungsforschung (DKVF). sine loco [digital], 06.-08.10.2021. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2021. Doc21dkvf193

doi: 10.3205/21dkvf193, urn:nbn:de:0183-21dkvf1930

Published: September 27, 2021

© 2021 Altawil et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. See license information at



Background and state of (inter)national research: Scientific recommendations on how people should act in the COVID-19 pandemic ought to consider the specific needs and information behaviours of different population groups. This also applies to the target group of people with a migration background. For them, the pandemic situation could prove to be even more challenging than for German-speaking target groups, as cultural and linguistic preferences can influence information and prevention practices.

Question and objective: As part of a multicentre study of Covid19-specific information behaviour (IB) of parents with young children (HELICAP-COVID19), we investigated how Arabic-speaking parents inform themselves, how they act upon recommendations, and which respective needs they express. This was analysed for “Covid-19 and child health”, with an additional focus on parental opinions on "COVID-19 vaccination”.

Methods: Between September 2020 - February 2021, we conducted semi-structured telephone interviews in the Arabic language with mothers (n=8) and fathers (n=2) – as part of a larger overall sample – of children up to 4.5 years old (Hannover: n=7; Regensburg: n=2; Osnabrueck: n=1). Audio files were transcribed verbatim, translated into English, and analysed using qualitative content analysis and deductive-inductive category development with MAXQDA20.

Results: Only some parents report seeking information actively and mention a change from active to passive IB over time, or even deliberately stopping their search efforts. Arab parents prefer their mother language to process information and mention Social Media, i.e. Facebook and YouTube as central sources. The exchange with family and friends on child protection issues is another crucial part of their information- and trust base. Although parents report limited communication with medical providers, these are recognized as the most reliable source. While parents follow and apply medical recommendations generally, knowledge gaps regarding vaccination and a low readiness/ability to make a decision were expressed repeatedly, particularly by those with a medium and low education. Instead, they prefer to wait for more information about the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.

Discussion: Covid-19 means fears and concerns about the health of children and parents. The amount of misinformation and fake news, as well as negative information on Social Media, contribute to increasing uncertainty, confusion and doubt when making decisions and applying preventive practices, particularly regarding vaccination intake. Where possible, information campaigns could be assisted by those who act as trusted peer-communicators within a specific community. Specifically, the use of Social Media must be considered in an appropriate design, also to prevent the spread of misinformation.

Practical implications: The uptake of COVID-19 vaccination information may (only) be positively affected if it is closely aligned to the preferred formats and ways of communication, specifically regarding trusted peer communicators and reliable Social Media formats.