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Principal Investigator: Dr. Sawsan Abdulrahim (American University of Beirut (AUB))
Co-PIs: Dr. Hala Ghattas and Dr. Stephen McCall

Research Snapshot: Older Syrian refugees and the Covid-19 Vaccine

This research focuses on tracking adherence to COVID-19 preventive/control measures among older Syrian refugees in Lebanon in response to underlying and emergent barriers, enablers, and vulnerabilities. This snapshot focuses on the issue of vaccine uptake and vaccine acceptance.

View Research Snapshot

Research Snapshot: Older Syrian refugees and the food insecurity

Findings on food insecurity, drawn from a wider study which tracked adherence to COVID-19 preventive/ control measures among older refugees in response to underlying and emergent barriers enablers and vulnerabilities.

View Research Snapshot


  1. Assess how barriers, enablers, and underlying vulnerabilities measured at individual, community, and structural levels are associated with adherence to COVID-19 preventive/control measures (hand-washing, social distancing, and seeking healthcare upon appearance of symptoms).
  2. Examine how adherence to COVID-19 preventive/control measures vary over time in response to change in underlying and emergent vulnerabilities. [Emergent vulnerabilities may include heightened deprivation, surge in domestic violence, reduced access to non-COVID-19 healthcare services especially for chronic diseases, inadequate water and sanitation facilities, and isolation and poor mental health.]
  3. Utilise rigorous, comprehensive, and real-time data to inform humanitarian programming in response to COVID-19 in the short- and medium-term and to enhance preparedness to respond to future crises.

Zeinab Ramadan

NRC Lebanon

Zeinab Ramadan is the Accountability to affected population Manager at NRC Lebanon

Hala Ghattas, PhD

American University of Beirut

Hala Ghattas is a Co-PI and an Associate Research Professor & Interim Director at the Center for Research on Population and Health, and Faculty of Health Sciences.

Stephen McCall, DPhil

American University of Beirut

Stephen McCall is a Co-PI and an Assistant Professor of Public Health Practice at the Center for Research on Population and Health, and Faculty of Health Sciences.

Sawsan Abdulrahim, PhD

American University of Beirut

Sawsan Abdulrahim is PI and an associate professor at the Department of Health promotion, Community Health, Faculty of Health Sciences.

Stephanie Bassil

Beirut, NRC Lebanon

Stephanie Bassil is the Monitoring and Evaluation Manager at NRC Lebanon

Expected Outcomes

The following research outputs will be produced:

  1. A conceptual framework and survey tool utilised to gather data and test relationships between multi-level determinants and behavioural adherence. The framework and tool will be created through engagement with a community of stakeholders (municipalities, local organizations, and members of the refugee community).
  2. Comprehensive, systematic, and real-time data on the changing needs and vulnerabilities of older Syrian refugees.

These will yield the following outcomes:

  1. Efficient data analysis to inform Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) humanitarian response to COVID-19 in the short and medium-term. Descriptive findings will be presented in the form of infographics/social media bites and shared with the community of stakeholders throughout the life-course of the study.
  2. Dissemination of knowledge gained among the humanitarian community to facilitate a coordinated response to COVID-19 and future epidemics.

Using the results from the first wave of data collection, the study found that misinformation about COVID-19 was prevalent in the community. The following videos were produced to tackle specific areas of misinformation and have been disseminated through the UNHCR communication trees and to all NRC beneficiaries in Lebanon.

Play video
Play video
Play video

Related Resources

Research Snapshot COVID-19

Research Snapshot: Older Syrian refugees in Lebanon and food insecurity

Research Snapshot COVID-19

Research Snapshot: Older Syrian refugees in Lebanon and the Covid-19 vaccine

Article COVID-19

Predicting intention to vaccinate against COVID-19 in older Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Article COVID-19

Too much to mask: determinants of sustained adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures among older Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Article, Peer Reviewed COVID-19, Non communicable disease

Development of a Prediction Model for the Management of Noncommunicable Diseases Among Older Syrian Refugees

Article COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccine acceptance in older Syrian refugees: preliminary findings from an ongoing study

Briefing Note COVID-19

Poster: COVID-19 vaccine acceptance in older Syrian refugees: findings from a longitudinal survey

Latest Updates

Blog published

Nov 2021

In this blog, the study team describe how the team, working through a successful partnership, conducted responsive high quality research during the rapidly emerging COVID-19 pandemic in communities affected by protracted displacement.


Study extended for fifth wave of data collection

Oct 2021

Reacting to changing needs, the study partners received an extension to collect concrete data in January 2022 to assess who has actually taken the vaccine. This data will help understand whether perceptions about vaccines impacted on vaccine uptake.


Poster wins first place prize!

23 Sept 2021

NRC and AUB win first place for their poster at the prestigious Social Medicine and Population Health conference. Their poster on "COVID-19 vaccine acceptance in older Syrian refugees in Lebanon: findings from a longitudinal survey" beat out over 100 other posters - a great achievement!

Copyright 2018 Joshua Berson. Tarek* and Fatima* are supported under occupancy free of charge (OFC), NRC works with property owners in Lebanese communities to upgrade unfinished houses and apartments to a habitable condition in exchange for hosting Syrian families rent-free for a period of 12 months.
Copyright 2018 Joshua Berson. This is Hamad. He fled to Lebanon to save and protect his children. He is helping NRC as a Focal Point because he wants to help them identify their problems and refer them to NRC for help.
COVID-19 exacerbated the needs of older Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Credit: Charbel Kosseifi, NRC.

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