Socioeconomic disparities and COVID-19 vaccination acceptance: a nationwide ecologic study

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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2021 Jun 7:S1198-743X(21)00277-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2021.05.030. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: To analyze the correlation between COVID-19 vaccination percentage and socioeconomic status (SES).

METHODS: A nationwide ecologic study based on open-sourced, anonymized, aggregated data provided by the Israel Ministry of Health. The correlations between municipal SES, vaccination percentage, and active COVID-19 cases during the vaccination campaign were analyzed by using weighted Pearson correlations. To assess the adequacy of first dose vaccination rollout relative to the municipality COVID-19 disease burden, a metric termed the vaccination need ratio was devised by dividing the total number of active cases (per 10,000 people) by the vaccination percentage of the population over 60 in each municipality, and its correlation with the SES was examined.

RESULTS: 23 days after initiation of the vaccination campaign, 760,916 (56.8%) individuals over the age of 60 were vaccinated in Israel with the first dose of the BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine. A negative correlation was found between the COVID-19 active case burden and the vaccination percentage of the study population in each municipality (r=-0.47, 95% confidence interval [-0.59 to -0.30]). The vaccination percentage significantly correlated with the municipal SES (r=0.83, 95% confidence interval [0.79 to 0.87]). This finding persisted but was attenuated over a five-week period. A negative correlation between the vaccination need ratio and municipal SES (r=-0.80, 95% confidence interval [-0.88 to -0.66]) was found.

CONCLUSION: Lower COVID-19 vaccination percentage was associated with lower SES and high active disease burden. Vaccination efforts should focus on areas with lower SES and high disease burden to assure equality of vaccine allocation and potentially provide a more diligent disease mitigation.

PMID:34111591 | DOI:10.1016/j.cmi.2021.05.030