Objectives It has been suggested that ethnic minorities have been disproportionally affected by the COVID-19. We aimed to determine whether prevalence and correlates of past SARS-CoV-2 exposure varied between six ethnic groups in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Design, setting, participants Participants aged 25-79 years enrolled in the Healthy Life in an Urban Setting population-based prospective cohort (n=16 889) were randomly selected within ethnic groups and invited to participate in a cross-sectional COVID-19 seroprevalence substudy. Outcome measures We tested participants for SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies and collected information on SARS-CoV-2 exposures. We estimated prevalence and correlates of SARS-CoV-2 exposure within ethnic groups using survey-weighted logistic regression adjusting for age, sex and calendar time. Results Between 24 June and 9 October 2020, we included 2497 participants. Adjusted SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence was comparable between ethnic Dutch (24/498; 5.1%, 95% CI 2.8% to 7.4%), South-Asian Surinamese (22/451; 4.9%, 95% CI 2.2% to 7.7%), African Surinamese (22/400; 8.3%, 95% CI 3.1% to 13.6%), Turkish (30/408; 7.9%, 95% CI 4.4% to 11.4%) and Moroccan (32/391; 7.2%, 95% CI 4.2% to 10.1%) participants, but higher among Ghanaians (95/327; 26.3%, 95% CI 18.5% to 34.0%). 57.1% of SARS-CoV-2-positive participants did not suspect or were unsure of being infected, which was lowest in African Surinamese (18.2%) and highest in Ghanaians (90.5%). Correlates of SARS-CoV-2 exposure varied across ethnic groups, while the most common correlate was having a household member suspected of infection. In Ghanaians, seropositivity was associated with older age, larger household sizes, living with small children, leaving home to work and attending religious services. Conclusions No remarkable differences in SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence were observed between the largest ethnic groups in Amsterdam after the first wave of infections. The higher infection seroprevalence observed among Ghanaians, which passed mostly unnoticed, warrants wider prevention efforts and opportunities for non-symptom-based testing.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere052752
Number of pages10
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2022


  • COVID-19
  • epidemiology
  • infection control
  • public health

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