Meritus Health Analyzes Data – Suggests Dramatic Reduction in Maryland’s Vaccine Disparity

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Data collected on COVID-19 vaccines administered recently in the state of Maryland shows a substantial improvement reaching older adults in communities hit hard by the virus, according to analysis conducted by Meritus Health researchers.

Published this month in the NEJM Catalyst, the team’s research used statewide data collected by the Maryland Department of Health on vaccines given to black and Hispanic residents ages 65 and older during the last two months. This was then compared to data collected during the previous two months of vaccines administered.

A simple and objective method called the Vaccine Equity Index (VEI) was used to track administration of vaccines. The VEI calculates the percentage of a racial/ethnic group that has received at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine divided by the percentage of that racial/ethnic group in the total population.

Analysis showed that the VEI increased by 48% for older black adults in the state and by 36% for older Hispanic adults for the period of mid-February to early April in comparison to earlier months of vaccine administration.

“The tremendous magnitude of this decrease in vaccine disparity in such a short time should be applauded and studied further,” says Dr. Maulik Joshi, president and CEO of Meritus Health and an author of the journal publication.

During the time period analyzed, there were numerous outreach efforts across the state by hospitals, health systems, local health departments and pharmacies to increase access and focus on vulnerable populations. The state’s approach to reach minority residents is led by the Maryland Vaccine Equity Task Force (VETF), which partnered with trusted community, faith-based and nonprofit organizations. As of early April 2021, the VETF’s work has included the establishment of mobile vaccination clinics in remote or otherwise underserved areas and the coordination of dozens of vaccination events across Maryland.

“We hope that the incredible progress we’ve highlighted in this journal, known for publishing ideas that advance the science and practice of medicine, inspires similar analyses in other communities that lead to efforts to achieve equitable COVID-19 vaccination rates on a national scale,” says Dr. Andrew Maul, a second author of the article. The full article is available online at