Using Disadvantage Indices to Guide State Health Equity Efforts: On-the-Ground Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic

This brief summarizes key themes and from a workshop on states’ experiences using disadvantage indices to inform their COVID-19 vaccination efforts. It includes information on emerging challenges, lessons learned, and how disadvantage indices can help dismantle structural discrimination.

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Vaccination is one of public health’s most successful tools for preventing and controlling the spread of infectious diseases and, increasingly, cancers and chronic diseases too. Immunization is an effective and cost-efficient strategy that prevents sickness and death in all age groups and saves billions of dollars each year. The COVID-19 epidemic and recent outbreaks of measles and other preventable infectious diseases underscore the importance of vaccines and sustaining high vaccination rates. Work is needed to ensure that people of all ages receive a complete series of the vaccines they need.