For the seventh Pandemics & Society Seminar of our Fall 2023 series, we are pleased to welcome Dr Natalie Bennett (Newcastle University). The seminar will be held on Thursday, 2 November at the normal time (1600 CET). For attendees outside of Europe, please note that daylight savings time has ended. More information about our speaker and the presentation is below. You can sign up for email notifications about the seminar series, including the Zoom details, here.
The effectiveness of vaccination against severe COVID-19 infection and mortality is well documented, but there are inequalities in both vaccination uptake and COVID-19 mortality. Understanding whether more equal vaccination uptake might reduce socioeconomic inequalities in COVID-19 mortality is necessary for planning for future pandemics. Limited evidence available suggests that COVID-19 vaccination may have reduced inequalities in mortality. However, existing studies typically employ data covering a short time series and do not explicitly model inequalities. Using national data from the first recorded deaths through to December 2022, this study investigates whether the national vaccination program in England reduced inequalities in COVID-19 mortality associated with area-level deprivation. Descriptive analyses demonstrated that, though vaccination uptake was generally high, there was a widening gap between the most and least deprived areas in England in uptake by dose. New mortality inequality gradually declined as vaccination uptake and doses increased, and remained low throughout 2022. However, cumulative mortality inequalities rapidly grew from the start of the pandemic continued to grow throughout the entire period of observation. We estimate that more equitable vaccine uptake may have reduced, but not eradicated deprivation-based inequalities. We argue that preparation for future pandemics should include a comprehensive strategy for minimising deprivation-based inequalities.
About the Speaker
Dr Natalie Bennett is an Inequalities Research Fellow in the Applied Research Collaboration for the North East and North Cumbria at Newcastle University, England. Natalie is a Social Epidemiologist and works across a variety of interdisciplinary health inequalities projects. Her primary area of research is that of geographical inequalities in health and much of her more recent work has been in applying this focus to the COVID-19 pandemic.