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COVID-19 Vaccination Cover Varies With Social Vulnerability

Coverage higher in low versus high social vulnerability counties for overall measure of social vulnerability index

FRIDAY, March 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) — COVID-19 vaccination coverage is higher in low compared with high social vulnerability counties across the United States, according to research published in the March 17 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Michelle M. Hughes, Ph.D., from the CDC COVID-19 Response Team, and colleagues categorized counties as low, moderate, or high social vulnerability counties based on a social vulnerability index (SVI) using 15 indicators grouped into four themes, resulting in 20 metrics, which comprised an overall SVI measure. These tertiles were combined with vaccine administration data for 49,264,338 U.S. residents who received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose from Dec. 14, 2020, to March 1, 2021, in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

The researchers found that vaccination coverage was higher in low social vulnerability counties than in high social vulnerability counties for the overall SVI measure (15.8 versus 13.9 percent); the largest coverage disparity was seen in the socioeconomic status theme (2.5 percent higher coverage in low versus high vulnerability counties). Across SVI metrics, there were wide state variations observed in equity. Vaccination coverage was higher in low vulnerability counties in most states; however, some states had equitable coverage at the county level.

“The results of this study indicate that COVID-19 vaccination coverage was lower in high vulnerability counties than in low vulnerability counties, a finding largely driven by socioeconomic disparities,” the authors write.

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