What prioritizing worse-off minority groups for COVID-19 vaccines means quantitatively: practical, legal, and ethical implications

Healthcare, New Findings, November 2020

To help mit­i­gate struc­tur­al dis­ad­van­tage, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) frame­work for equi­tably allo­cat­ing COVID-19 vac­cines pro­posed increas­ing allo­ca­tions to worse-off minori­ties through the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index (SVI). However, the extent of ben­e­fit is unknown. Moreover, since SVI includes a race vari­able and could face legal chal­lenges, it is desir­able to quan­ti­fy using an alter­na­tive such as the Area Deprivation Index (ADI) that does not include race and can offer more tar­get­ed pri­or­i­ti­za­tion as it is cen­tered on the block­group, not cen­sus-tract lev­el. We there­fore sought to deter­mine what shares of minori­ties would be offered vac­cines under the NASEM’s allo­ca­tion frame­work com­par­ing: 1) no dis­ad­van­tage index, to 2) SVI to 3) ADI.