Accelerating Digital Health To Achieve Equitable Delivery Of The COVID-19 Vaccine

February 4, 2021 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce, Telehealth

Last modified February 5, 2021

According to this article from the Health Affairs Blog, the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a dramatic acceleration in digital health including telemedicine, remote monitoring for chronic conditions, mobile apps for contact tracing, and school and small-business safety monitoring. One of the best examples is the use of telemedicine in order to triage and access COVID-19 testing – including for individuals who have traditionally been poorly served by the health system.

With the promise of new vaccines, there has been great speculation around how to distribute the vaccine in historically marginalized communities. The authors of this piece argue that digital health has the potential to facilitate a more widely distributed model of vaccine delivery that can help reach traditionally underserved populations. From the perspective of health equity and digital health, there are three key challenges of vaccine delivery discussed in the article:

  1. Lack of Trust
  2. Lack of Access to Care
  3. Lack of Efficacy Data

The authors propose a three-pronged approach to ensuring equitable vaccine delivery using digital health:

  1. Spur Information Dissemination To Improve Vaccination Rates
  2. Enable Widely Distributed Models Of Vaccine Delivery
  3. Collect Longitudinal Data On Vaccine Efficacy And Side Effects In Diverse Populations
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