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Q+A: What Factors Are Associated With Disparities in COVID-19 Vaccination Rates?

vaccine vials

April 29, 2022

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, experts from Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health have researched disparities in testing, vaccination, health care access and other markers of the pandemic response.

The latest study, this month in the American Journal of Epidemiology, harkens back to December 2020 through September 2021, when the United States first started distributing the COVID-19 vaccines, and looked at full vaccination rates in neighborhoods of 16 large U.S. cities, including Philadelphia, Austin, San Francisco, Chicago and New York City.

Researchers at Drexel’s Urban Health Collaborative used the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index – a measure that includes socioeconomic, housing, minority status, language and other factors to assess a community’s resilience against human suffering and financial loss when faced with a crisis – and looked at its association with COVID-19 vaccination in zip codes of the 16 cities. The team found wide disparities in vaccination, with neighborhoods with higher levels of social vulnerability having the lowest vaccination rates.

Shortly after the paper was published, Anthony Fauci, MD, the U.S. President’s chief medical advisor, made a comment this week that our country is no longer in a pandemic, but a “transitional phase,” perhaps toward endemicity.

So, with a hopeful tone, the Drexel News Blog checked in with the paper’s lead author Usama Bilal, PhD, an assistant professor at Dornsife, about his team’s recent findings and the current state of the pandemic locally and internationally.

Read the full Q&A on the Drexel News Blog: What Factors Are Associated With Disparities in COVID-19 Vaccination Rates?