Covid-19 vaccine distribution: Health and socioeconomic data key for equity


A study has investigated whether considering localized estimates of health and socioeconomic factors could improve vaccine rollouts.

The results suggest that health and socioeconomic factors together explain 43% of the variability in deaths across counties in the United States.

The researchers say that localized estimates of disease could inform better geographical distribution of vaccines.

As of mid-July 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recorded more than 187 million cases of Covid-19, including more than 4 million deaths, worldwide.

The same data show that health authorities have administered over 3 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses so far. These vaccines have largely been allocated based on people’s susceptibility to contracting the virus and the risk of severe illness.

Several studies have shown that adverse outcomes from Covid-19 are linked to underlying health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, kidney diseaseTrusted Source, obesityTrusted Source, diabetesTrusted Source, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)Trusted Source.

Other studies have found that socioeconomic factors, such as race and ethnicityTrusted Source and income influence Covid-19 case numbers.

Vaccines for Covid-19 are predicted to be in short supply for the near future. Finding better ways to allocate them could reduce adverse outcomes from the virus more effectively.

Scientists from Columbia University, in New York, recently conducted a study to understand whether allocating Covid-19 vaccines according to health and socioeconomic factors could reduce the number of deaths from the disease.

They found that health and socioeconomic factors can explain different death rates from Covid-19 across counties in the U.S. and that allocating vaccines according to these factors could improve vaccine rollouts.

The scientists collected data from public sources. They gathered information about rates of health conditions across the U.S. from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This included data about obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic heart disease, COPD, cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure.

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