Sociodemographic inequality in COVID-19 vaccination coverage among elderly adults in England: a national linked data study

BMJ Open. 2021 Jul 23;11(7):e053402. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-053402.


Objective: To examine inequalities in COVID-19 vaccination rates among elderly adults in England.

Design: Cohort study.

Setting: People living in private households and communal establishments in England.

Participants: 6 655 672 adults aged ≥70 years (mean 78.8 years, 55.2% women) who were alive on 15 March 2021.

Main outcome measures: Having received the first dose of a vaccine against COVID-19 by 15 March 2021. We calculated vaccination rates and estimated unadjusted and adjusted ORs using logistic regression models.

Results: By 15 March 2021, 93.2% of people living in England aged 70 years and over had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. While vaccination rates differed across all factors considered apart from sex, the greatest disparities were seen between ethnic and religious groups. The lowest rates were in people of black African and black Caribbean ethnic backgrounds, where only 67.2% and 73.8% had received a vaccine, with adjusted odds of not being vaccinated at 5.01 (95% CI 4.86 to 5.16) and 4.85 (4.75 to 4.96) times greater than the white British group. The proportion of individuals self-identifying as Muslim and Buddhist who had received a vaccine was 79.1% and 84.1%, respectively. Older age, greater area deprivation, less advantaged socioeconomic position (proxied by living in a rented home), being disabled and living either alone or in a multigenerational household were also associated with higher odds of not having received the vaccine.

Conclusion: Research is now urgently needed to understand why disparities exist in these groups and how they can best be addressed through public health policy and community engagement.

Keywords: COVID-19; epidemiology; infection control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • COVID-19 Vaccines*
  • COVID-19*
  • Cohort Studies
  • England
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Semantic Web
  • Vaccination
  • Vaccination Coverage


  • COVID-19 Vaccines