Many of the groups in the Australian population who are at the greatest risk from COVID-19 – including those with chronic disease – are also the least likely to understand the public health messages aimed at keeping them and the broader community safe from the pandemic.
That’s the concerning finding from the first Australian research to look at what impact people’s health literacy has on their knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours in relation to COVID-19.
The study, published in the Sax Institute journal Public Health Research & Practice, should ring alarm bells for those developing public health information aimed at reducing the spread of the virus, say the authors.
They are calling for action to ensure public health messages are better tailored to meet the needs of our diverse population, especially those who may be most vulnerable to COVID-19.
In this article, lead author Professor Kirsten McCaffery of the University of Sydney outlines the study findings.