Fighting a pandemic: Sociodemographic disparities and coronavirus disease-2019 vaccination gaps-a population study

Michal Benderly*, Amit Huppert, Ilya Novikov, Arnona Ziv, Ofra Kalter-Leibovici

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Data suggest lower coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) vaccination coverage among minority and disadvantaged groups. We aimed to identify interactions between sociodemographic factors associated with vaccination gaps. Methods: This population study used Israeli National COVID-19 data (extracted: 10 May 2021). The analysis comprised 6 478 999 individuals age ≥15 years with aggregated area-level data on sex and age distribution and no COVID-19 history. We estimated vaccination hazard and cumulative incidence using the Fine and Gray competing risk model. Results: Older age and higher socioeconomic status (SES) were associated, with stepwise higher cumulative vaccination rates (age 20-24: 67%, age ≥ 75: 96%; SES 1-3: 61%, 4-5: 74.2%, 6-7: 82%, 8-10: 87%). We found the lowest vaccination rates in Arab (65%) and Ultra-Orthodox Jewish (54%) areas. SES modified the association in Arab neighbourhoods, with higher coverage than in the non-Orthodox Jewish reference group in SES 1-3 [adjusted hazard ratio (HR) = 1.06; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.02-1.11], and gradually lower coverage in higher SES classes (SES 6-7: HR = 0.83; 95% CI: 0.79-0.87). Vaccination rates were also higher among younger Arabs (≤45 years) compared with age counterparts in the reference population group (age 25-34: HR = 1.18; 95% CI: 1.12-1.28) and lower than the reference group among Arabs age ≥45 years. Among Ultra-Orthodox Jews, vaccination HRs remained below one across age and SES classes. Conclusions: Age and SES modified the association between population group and vaccination coverage. Identifying the interplay between sociodemographic characteristics and the underlying explanations may improve targeted efforts, aimed at closing vaccination coverage gaps and mitigating COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709-717
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • COVID-19
  • equity
  • vaccine


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