Lena Maria Nilsson, Miguel San Sebastian & Jon Petter A Stoor

There is an international concern that the COVID-19 pandemic could have had serious effects on Indigenous peoples’ livelihoods and health. To our knowledge, no research has been published regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of the Sámi people. The aim of this study is to assess the health care and social experience of the pre-vaccine phase of the COVID-19 pandemic among the Sámi, in comparison with the national population, in Sweden.

Two population-based surveys, in the Sámi and the Swedish populations, were conducted between February and May 2021. In addition to sociodemographic and health information, a questionnaire regarding the health experience of COVID-19 designed by the Public Health Agency of Sweden was included. Both surveys targeted individuals aged 18–84 years and the participation rate was 40.9% in the Sámi study and 44.3% in the national study.

Based on the data collected, Sámi in Sweden seem to have been affected in a similar or even in a milder way than the national population during the pre-vaccine phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Further studies are needed to explore the distribution of these outcomes among different Sámi subgroups. Register studies are also needed to evaluate the clinical (morbidity and mortality) impact of COVID-19 in the Sámi population.

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