Identification of priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination in Brazil

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In a context of community transmission and shortage of vaccines, COVID-19 vaccination should focus on directly reducing the morbidity and mortality caused by the disease. It was thus essential to define priority groups for vaccination by the Brazilian National Immunization Program (PNI in Portuguese), based on the risk of hospitalization and death from the disease. We calculated overrisk according to sex, age group, and comorbidities using hospitalization and death records from severe acute respiratory illness with confirmation of COVID-19 (SARI-COVID) in all of Brazil in the first 6 months of the epidemic. Higher overrisk was associated with male sex (hospitalization = 1.1 and death = 1.2), age over 45 years for hospitalization (OvRag ranging from 1.1 to 8.5), and age over 55 year for death (OvRag ranging from 1.5 to 18.3). In the groups with comorbidities, chronic kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and chronic lung disease were associated with overrisk, while there was no such evidence for asthma. Chronic kidney disease or diabetes and age over 60 showed an even stronger association, reaching overrisk of death 14 and 10 times greater than in the general population, respectively. For all the comorbidities, there was higher overrisk at older ages, with a downward gradient in the oldest age groups. This pattern was reversed when examining overrisk in the general population, for both hospitalization and death. The current study provided evidence of overrisk of hospitalization and death from SARI-COVID, assisting the definition of priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination.




Lana, R. M., Freitas, L. P., Codeço, C. T., Pacheco, A. G., De Carvalho, L. M. F., Villela, D. A. M., … Bastos, L. S. (2021). Identification of priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination in Brazil. Cadernos de Saude Publica, 37(10).

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