During the pre-vaccine phase of the pandemic, a study found that a significant proportion of reported asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections occurred in people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Indeed, members of ethnic minorities were approximately three times more likely than the broader population to be asymptomatic cases.
The research, conducted in the Barwon South West region of Victoria, was led by Shinae Tobin-Salzman, the program officer for North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network’s (NWMPHN) Vaccine Preventable Conditions team.
It formed the subject matter for her Masters’ thesis, undertaken at the Deakin University School of Health and Social Development.
Not only did the work result in her degree, it was also recently awarded the university’s Berni Murphy Award for the Top Project by a Master of Public Health Student.
Shinae says she really hopes there will be further research into her findings, in the light of vaccine roll-out and widespread community transmission.
She won’t be doing it herself, however. She plans on doing further study, but now has a different focus.
“I will endeavour to complete my PhD one day,” she says, “but my intended topic has changed since working here at NWMPHN. My future research interests now predominantly revolve around ways to improve the quality of life for older adults in Aged Care.”