An alternative vaccine prioritization approach in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Feyza G. Sahinyazan, Ozgur M. Araz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impact of food access and other vulnerability measures on the COVID-19 progression to inform the public health decision-makers while setting priority rules for vaccine schedules. Design/methodology/approach: In this paper, the authors used the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) data combined with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s social vulnerability score variables and diabetes and obesity prevalence in a set of models to assess the associations with the COVID-19 prevalence and case-fatality rates in the United States (US) counties. Using the case prevalence estimates provided by these models, the authors developed a COVID-19 vulnerability score. The COVID-19 vulnerability score prioritization is then compared with the pro-rata approach commonly used for vaccine distribution. Findings: The study found that the population proportion residing in a food desert is positively correlated with the COVID-19 prevalence. Similarly, the population proportion registered to SNAP is positively correlated with the COVID-19 prevalence. The findings demonstrate that commonly used pro-rata vaccine allocation can overlook vulnerable communities, which can eventually create disease hot-spots. Practical implications: The proposed methodology provides a rapid and effective vaccine prioritization scoring. However, this scoring can also be considered for other humanitarian programs such as food aid and rapid test distribution in response to the current and future pandemics. Originality/value: Humanitarian logistics domain predominantly relies on equity measures, where each jurisdiction receives resources proportional to their population. This study provides a tool to rapidly identify and prioritize vulnerable communities while determining vaccination schedules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Food access
  • Pandemic
  • Public health
  • SNAP
  • Vaccine allocation
  • Vulnerability index
  • Vulnerability prioritization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems


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