True disparities in Covid-19 vaccine coverage by ethnicity remain ‘unclear’
More than a year after the rollout of Aotearoa’s Covid-19 vaccine, and after more than 10.7 million doses have been administered, the true disparities in coverage by ethnicity remain “unclear”.
The researchers looked at Covid-19 vaccination coverage by ethnicity and found that different ways of calculating the population size of each ethnic group (the “denominator”) unequally affect vaccination rates.
This was raised as an issue throughout the rollout as the Ministry of Health relied on Health Service User (HSU) datasets – capturing those who engaged with the health system over the past year. These were known to be an undercount and saw coverage among Asian populations exceed 100%.
Principal Investigator Dr. Andrew Anglemyer; public health physician Dr. Corina Gray; Associate Professor and Associate Dean of the Pacific, Sir Collin Tukuitonga; statistical scholar Andrew Sporle; and public health physician and epidemiologist Dr. Gerard Sonder compared data from the 2018 census and HSU.
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Because HSU only captures people who use health services, younger and marginalized populations were likely underrepresented, resulting in overestimated coverage in these groups, they found.
However, using census data may underestimate the sizes of Pacific people subpopulations, which could lead to an underestimation of the unvaccinated, highlighting the “difficulties” of using the census data to estimate the exact number of sub-populations in “dynamic” migrant populations.
Without accurate census estimates of groups under age 25, comparisons between HSU and census data were also limited, they said.
The analysis showed that the proportion of Maori aged 12 and over who were fully vaccinated (88.2%) was “significantly lower” than those who identified as Pākehā/other (95.6%) and Pacific (96.5%).
Similarly, “significantly higher” proportions of eligible European/other individuals were increased compared to Maori and Pacific.
Public health physician Dr Tukuitonga said the results broadly confirmed what was already known: that Maori had lower overall vaccination coverage.
He said it was important for the future, especially when looking at health care delivery and coverage among Maori and Pacific populations, that census and HSU data be considered together, to get a better picture.
“The different datasets told us to be careful about the information we get. Especially since HSU data is so commonly used, you’re going to under-represent certain populations.
University of Otago immunologist Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu said it was “undeniable” that Covid-19 is exacerbating pre-existing health inequalities for vulnerable communities, including Maori and indigenous people. Pasifika.
Inequities in vaccination and booster vaccination by ethnicity for adults and children remain “clearly evident”, and vigilance and continued vaccination efforts are still needed in the face of Omicron, she said.
Maori and Pacific providers have worked ‘tirelessly and tirelessly’ to help address inequalities, to reduce barriers to people’s immunizations, and this ‘hard work’ needed to be supported to continue, she said. declared.
What official data shows
Data from the Department of Health as of Tuesday shows:
- 96.3% of eligible people aged 12 and over received their first dose
- 95.2% received two doses
- 72.8% of the eligible population aged 18 and over were boosted
- 12.5% of eligible 16-17 year olds (all ethnicities) were boosted (6.1% of eligible Maori and 7.2% of eligible Pacific teens)
- 91.3% of Maori over 12 received their first dose; 88.4% received two doses and 55.9% of the Maori population aged 18 and over are boosted
- 98.5% of Pacific residents over the age of 12 received their first dose; 96.8% had two doses and 59.8% of 18+ Pasifika are boosted
- 54.7% of children aged 5-11 received their first dose and 26.7% received two doses
- 35.6% of Maori tamariki aged 5-11 received their first dose and 12.9% received both
- 48.2% of Pacific children aged 5-11 received their first dose and 16.4% received both.