Disparities in vaccine coverage among groups in the USA is common, possibly due to higher vaccine hesitancy in certain populations, difficulty accessing vaccines, and underlying social vulnerability.
The aim of this study was to investigate the association between mpox vaccine administration, social determinants of health, and social vulnerability index (SVI) in Durham County, North Carolina, USA. Random forest regression (RFE) and min–max scaling preprocessing were used to predict mpox vaccinations in Durham County at the census tract level. The top eleven most influential features and their correlations with mpox vaccination were calculated.
Non-Hispanic white individuals, males, and those between the ages of 20 and 40 years were overrepresented in mpox vaccine reception in Durham County. Surprisingly, lacking a high school diploma, lacking health insurance, lacking a household vehicle, and living below the poverty line were all positively associated with receiving the mpox vaccine. Being a Black or African American and Hispanic or Latino individual was also positively associated with receiving the mpox vaccine.
Vaccine outreach efforts in Durham County, North Carolina, had success in reaching at-risk individuals, including socially vulnerable individuals. Future research should focus more specifically on how social vulnerability relates to vaccine reception for vaccine-preventable diseases.