Geographically-targeted COVID-19 vaccination is more equitable than age-based thresholds alone

medRxiv [Preprint]. 2021 Jul 30:2021.03.25.21254272. doi: 10.1101/2021.03.25.21254272.


COVID-19 mortality increases dramatically with age and is also substantially higher among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) populations in the United States. These two facts introduce tradeoffs because BIPOC populations are younger than white populations. In analyses of California and Minnesota--demographically divergent states--we show that COVID vaccination schedules based solely on age benefit the older white populations at the expense of younger BIPOC populations with higher risk of death from COVID-19. We find that strategies that prioritize high-risk geographic areas for vaccination at all ages better target mortality risk than age-based strategies alone, although they do not always perform as well as direct prioritization of high-risk racial/ethnic groups.

Keywords: COVID-19 mortality; COVID-19 vaccination; neighborhood deprivation; race/ethnicity; vaccine equity.

Publication types

  • Preprint