Higher mortality during COVID-19 pandemic in socially vulnerable areas in Belo Horizonte: implications for vaccination prioriti
Keywords:Mortality, Elderly, Coronavirus Infections, Social Inequity, Vaccines
Objective: To assess mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic according to social vulnerability by areas of Belo Horizonte (BH), aiming at strategies for vaccination. Methods: Ecological study with mortality analysis, according to census tracts classified by the Health Vulnerability Index, a composite indicator that includes socioeconomic and sanitation variables. Deaths due to natural causes and COVID-19 were obtained from the “Mortality Information System”, between the 10th and 43rd epidemiological weeks (EW) of 2020. Excess mortality was calculated by a time series model, considering observed deaths by EW, between 2015 and 2019, for census tracts. Mortality rates (MR) were calculated and age-standardized =using population estimates from 2010 census. Results: Excess mortality in BH was 16.1% (n =1524): 11.0%, 18.8% and 17.3% in the low, intermediate and high vulnerability areas, respectively. The differences between observed and expected age-standardized MR by natural causes were equal to 59/100,000 inhabitants in BH, increasing from 31 to 77 and 95/100,000 inhabitants, in the areas of low, intermediate and high vulnerability, respectively. There was an aging gradient in COVID-19 MR, ranging from 4 to 611/100,000 inhabitants among individuals of 20-39 years and 75+ years. The COVID-19 MR per 100,000 elderly (60+ years) was 292 in BH, increasing from 179 to 354 and 476, in the low, intermediate and high vulnerability areas, respectively. Conclusion: Inequalities in mortality, particularly among the elderly, combined with the limited supply of doses, demonstrate the importance of prioritizing socially vulnerable areas during vaccination against COVID-19.
Copyright (c) 2021 Valéria M A Passos, Luisa C C Brant, Pedro C Pinheiro, Paulo R L Correa, Isis E Machado, Mayara R Santos, Antonio L P Ribeiro, Lucia M MM Paixão, Fabiano G Pimenta Junior , Maria de Fatima M de Souza, Deborah Carvalho Malta
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