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Using sero-epidemiology to monitor disparities in vaccination and infection with SARS-CoV-2

By Isobel Routledge, Saki Takahashi, Adrienne Epstein, Jill Hakim, Owen Janson, Kierstinne Turcios, Joanna Vinden, John Tomas Risos, Margaret Rose Banquied, Lori Pham, Clara Di Germano, Michael Paul Busch, Margot B Kushel, Bryan M Greenhouse, Isabel Rodriguez-Barranquer

Posted 07 Oct 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.10.06.21264573

Disease outbreaks often highlight existing inequalities and injustices within society. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored long-existing health inequalities, both within countries and between the Global North and South. These disparities have been observed throughout the pandemic, from disparities in the severity and impact of the initial waves of cases to disparities in who was most protected during the roll-out of vaccination (1-3). As the Delta variant surges in many countries, structural inequalities shape the trajectory of the pandemic and exacerbate existing health disparities. In the age of vaccination, the "double burden" of disparities in both exposure to infection and vaccination coverage intersect to determine the current and future patterns of infection, immunity, and mortality. It is important to consider the ways in which these disparities, with overlapping but distinct drivers, interact to determine population-level immunity and the burden of COVID-19 in different communities. Individuals or communities can experience different pathways to immunity, whether through infection, vaccination, or both. Using San Francisco as a case study, we show how a sero-epidemiological approach can illuminate disparities in the "pathway to immunity".

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