We Are Public Health: COVID-19 Vaccine 10% Equity Allocation

by: Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communication Committee Co-Chair

New Hampshire has allocated 10% of COVID-19 vaccinations that come into the state for underserved populations as an effort to address inequity in vaccine distribution. This decision was made looking at the COVID-19 social vulnerability index which highlights how underserved populations have been disproportionally impacted by COVID-19, hospitalization and death due to COVID-19 complications. The equity allotment will be distributed through the regional public health networks.

Those eligible for Phase 1b will continue to register through the state website and can call 2-1-1 for more information. The equity allotment is for groups of people that have been historically marginalized from healthcare access or may have barriers to accessing services. These groups include racial and ethnic minorities, people experiencing homelessness, multi-generational households among other underserved groups.

Data released through the state equity dashboard in April revealed that while Hispanic/Latinos make up 3.9% of the populations, they make up 6.1% of COVID-19 cases. While Black or African Americans make up 1.4% of the population, they make up 5.4% of New Hampshire’s COVID-19 cases. By July the rate of cases for the Hispanic population in New Hampshire had increased to 11.5% of cases and Black and African Americans in New Hampshire had increased to 6.1% of cases. This data shows the importance of demographic data collection to continue to be able to identify disproportionate impacts in diverse communities.

Informed by this data the COVID-19 Equity Response Team’s recommendations were issues in July 2020 to be able to address the increase disparity in underserved populations. The 10% allocation of COVID-19 vaccines is a way to bridge this gap. National data also shows that racial and ethnic populations are being vaccinated at lower rates than their white counterparts. This data raises flags regarding access to vaccinations. In New Hampshire the 10% equity allocation looks to bridge the gap in vaccine distribution to these populations that data shows nationally are getting less access to vaccines while being more affected by COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and even deaths attributed to COVID-19.

For more information regarding vaccine distribution please for to the New Hampshire DHHS website. https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/covid19/documents/covid19-vaccine-allocation-plan-summary.pdf

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