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Will access to COVID-19 vaccine in Aotearoa be equitable for priority populations?

AIM: This research examines the equity implications of the geographic distribution of COVID-19 vaccine delivery locations in Aotearoa New Zealand under five potential scenarios: (1) stadium mega-clinics; (2) Community Based Assessment Centres; (3) GP clinics; (4) community pharmacies; and (5) schools. METHOD: We mapped the distribution of Aotearoa New Zealand’s population and the location of potential vaccine delivery facilities under each scenario. Geostatistical techniques identified population clusters for Māori, Pacific peoples and people aged 65 years and over. We calculated travel times between all potential facilities and each Statistical Area 1 in the country. Descriptive statistics indicate the size and proportion of populations that could face significant travel barriers when accessing COVID-19 vaccinations. RESULTS: Several areas with significant travel times to potential vaccine delivery sites were also communities identified as having an elevated risk of COVID-19 disease and severity. All potential scenarios for vaccine delivery, with the exception of schools, resulted in travel barriers for a substantial proportion of the population. Overall, these travel time barriers disproportionately burden Māori, older communities and people living in areas of high socioeconomic deprivation. CONCLUSION: The equitable delivery of COVID-19 vaccines is key to an elimination strategy. However, if current health services and facilities are used without well-designed and supported outreach services, then access to vaccination is likely to be inequitable.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Whitehead, J., Scott, N., Atatoa-Carr, P., & Lawrenson, R. (2021). Will access to COVID-19 vaccine in Aotearoa be equitable for priority populations? New Zealand Medical Journal, 134(1535), 25–34.
New Zealand Medical Association
This article has been published in the New Zealand Medical Journal. © NZMA. Used with permission.