Older adults have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the widespread availability and proved effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, the issue of inequity in vaccine uptake in the United States is a potential concern among different populations. This study examined racial and ethnic and income disparities in COVID-19 vaccination rate among Medicare beneficiaries.
Data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) COVID-19 Winter 2021 Community Supplement were employed (n=9,606 Medicare beneficiaries, weighted N= 50,512,963). We fitted a logistic regression model to determine the association of vaccination status with beneficiary race and ethnicity and income, after controlled for a set of beneficiary characteristics.
Compared with non-Hispanic White respondents, Hispanic respondents (OR=0.72, 95% CI: 0.54-0.96, p=0.02) and Black respondents (OR=0.84, 95% CI: 0.67-1.04, p=0.11) were less likely to receive COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, the likelihood of COVID-19 vaccine uptake for beneficiaries who earn less than $25,000 per year was more than 50% lower than that for those whose annual income was $25,000 or more (OR=0.44, 95% CI: 0.37-0.53, p<0.0001).
Racial and ethnic and income disparities exist in COVID-19 vaccination rate among Medicare beneficiaries nationally. Community-based strategies to boost vaccine uptake may target racial and ethnic minorities and socioeconomically disadvantaged groups to reduce such disparities.