Faculty Publications


First published in Frontiers in Public Health, v11 published by Frontiers Media. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2023.1324105

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Arctic, COVID-19 pandemic, indigenous, public health, vaccination, vulnerability

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Frontiers in Public Health



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Objectives: This study examines the COVID-19 pandemic’s spatiotemporal dynamics in 52 sub-regions in eight Arctic states. This study further investigates the potential impact of early vaccination coverage on subsequent COVID-19 outcomes within these regions, potentially revealing public health insights of global significance. Methods: We assessed the outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic in Arctic sub-regions using three key epidemiological variables: confirmed cases, confirmed deaths, and case fatality ratio (CFR), along with vaccination rates to evaluate the effectiveness of the early vaccination campaign on the later dynamics of COVID-19 outcomes in these regions. Results: From February 2020 to February 2023, the Arctic experienced five distinct waves of COVID-19 infections and fatalities. However, most Arctic regions consistently maintained Case Fatality Ratios (CFRs) below their respective national levels throughout these waves. Further, the regression analysis indicated that the impact of initial vaccination coverage on subsequent cumulative mortality rates and Case Fatality Ratio (CFR) was inverse and statistically significant. A common trend was the delayed onset of the pandemic in the Arctic due to its remoteness. A few regions, including Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Northern Canada, Finland, and Norway, experienced isolated spikes in cases at the beginning of the pandemic with minimal or no fatalities. In contrast, Alaska, Northern Sweden, and Russia had generally high death rates, with surges in cases and fatalities. Conclusion: Analyzing COVID-19 data from 52 Arctic subregions shows significant spatial and temporal variations in the pandemic’s severity. Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Northern Canada, Finland, and Norway exemplify successful pandemic management models characterized by low cases and deaths. These outcomes can be attributed to successful vaccination campaigns, and proactive public health initiatives along the delayed onset of the pandemic, which reduced the impact of COVID-19, given structural and population vulnerabilities. Thus, the Arctic experience of COVID-19 informs preparedness for future pandemic-like public health emergencies in remote regions and marginalized communities worldwide that share similar contexts.


Department of Geography

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UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa


©2024 The Authors. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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