Socio-demographic differences in access to COVID-19 vaccines in Florida’s first rollout – Community News
Covid-19

Socio-demographic differences in access to COVID-19 vaccines in Florida’s first rollout

In this study, we examined sociodemographic differences in access to COVID-19 vaccines at the initial rollout at Publix supermarkets across Florida in January 2021. Florida officials reported choosing Publix stores for vaccine rollouts because the chain has so many stores in the state and was considered better prepared than other retailers at the time. Data on education level, ethnicity, race, percentage at or below the poverty line, and percentage of single-parent families were collected from the 2019 census for 974 Florida zip codes. We used hotspot analysis to measure spatial clustering of Publix vaccination sites per 100,000 people. We identified hotspots (areas with greater vaccine availability) in moderately populated areas where the population was significantly older, wealthier and whiter than in areas with lower vaccine availability (cold spots). Cold spots were identified in areas of low and high population density, areas with a higher proportion of Hispanic residents, and areas with a higher proportion of single-parent families, including Miami-Dade County and the inland regions of Florida. Multivariate analysis showed strong associations between the number of vaccination sites in a zip code and race and ethnicity and a weaker association with the percentage of inhabitants at or below the poverty line. Future vaccine distribution should continue to be monitored through a socioeconomic lens to help prevent unequal access.