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Health Equity Not Adequately Addressed in COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Minority group representatives present in only a minority of state vaccine plans

Health Equity Not Adequately Addressed in COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

FRIDAY, July 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Most state COVID-19 vaccination plans were created without advisement from a health equity committee, according to a research letter published online July 2 in JAMA Network Open.

Amber Hardeman, M.D., from the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, and colleagues assessed how each state and Washington, D.C., planned to ensure equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine using publicly available state plans.

The researchers found that most states (84 percent) created a committee to develop a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. Twenty plans referenced a health equity committee, of which 12 committees reported the types of members involved, including physicians (11 of 12), government officials (six of 12), ethicists (four of 12), minority group representatives (eight of 12), and clergy (five of 12). Just over half of the plans (51 percent) mentioned collaborating with organizations that serve minority populations. More than half of plans (61 percent) included partnerships beyond the hospital or medical systems during phase 1 of implementation, including partnerships with health care and community support.

"Future studies should evaluate whether current protocols may lead to inequities in vaccine distribution during subsequent phases and how inequities will be addressed in future vaccination plan updates," the authors write.

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