Are Vaccines Reaching Hard-Hit Areas?

Keeping Track

a man wearing a mask stands in line with others

Emory researchers are enhancing a dynamic COVID-19 Health Equity dashboard to shine a light on how US states are progressing on vaccinations. Reports indicate that Black communities, which have been disproportionately impacted by the virus, are also falling behind in getting the vaccine.


a portrait of Shivani Patel

Shivani Patel, assistant professor of global health, Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health.

Visitors to the vaccination tracker can see national and state data about the vaccine rollout and find the racial breakdown of COVID-19 deaths along with social determinants information such as poverty, access to health care, health insurance coverage, underlying health conditions, and housing issues. Shivani Patel, a social epidemiologist at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health who led the team that developed the dashboard, points out that the burden of COVID has been unequal. Some communities—particularly those with a large minority population—are suffering higher infection rates, hospitalizations, and deaths. “The original goal of the health equity dashboard was to show the virus’s differential impact. We added the vaccination tracker so that we can see how well we are reaching communities that have been hardest hit,” she says.

On the equity dashboard homepage, users can see a snapshot of COVID deaths across the country. Selecting a state brings up a map displaying mortality by county. Drilling down, users can select a county to see how it compares to the rest of the state and country. “There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to combat this pandemic,” Patel says. “To prepare for the future, it’s critical to understand the underlying risk factors leading to higher incidence and mortality.”

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