Public Health Reports
ISSN / EISSN: 00333549 / 14682877
Published by: SAGE Publications
Total articles ≅ 6,491
Latest articles in this journal
Published: 27 March 2023
Public Health Reports; https://doi.org/10.1177/00333549231154577
Objectives: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color have borne a disproportionate incidence of COVID-19 cases in the United States. However, few studies have documented the completeness of race and ethnicity reporting in national COVID-19 surveillance data. The objective of this study was to describe the completeness of race and ethnicity ascertainment in person-level data received by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through national COVID-19 case surveillance. Methods: We compared COVID-19 cases with “complete” (ie, per Office of Management and Budget 1997 revised criteria) data on race and ethnicity from CDC person-level surveillance data with CDC-reported aggregate counts of COVID-19 from April 5, 2020, through December 1, 2021, in aggregate and by state. Results: National person-level COVID-19 case surveillance data received by CDC during the study period included 18 881 379 COVID-19 cases with complete ascertainment of race and ethnicity, representing 39.4% of all cases reported to CDC in aggregate (N = 47 898 497). Five states (Georgia, Hawaii, Nebraska, New Jersey, and West Virginia) did not report any COVID-19 person-level cases with multiple racial identities to CDC. Conclusion: Our findings highlight a high degree of missing data on race and ethnicity in national COVID-19 case surveillance, enhancing our understanding of current challenges in using these data to understand the impact of COVID-19 on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Streamlining surveillance processes to decrease reporting incidence and align reporting requirements with an Office of Management and Budget–compliant collection of data on race and ethnicity would improve the completeness of data on race and ethnicity for national COVID-19 case surveillance.
Published: 27 March 2023
Public Health Reports; https://doi.org/10.1177/00333549231160871
Limited studies are available on how decisions and perceptions on SARS-CoV-2 vaccination have changed since the start of vaccination availability. We performed a qualitative study to identify factors critical to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination decision making and how perspectives evolved among African American/Black, Native American, and Hispanic communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and social and economic disadvantage. We conducted 16 virtual meetings, with 232 participants in wave 1 meetings (December 2020) and with 206 returning participants in wave 2 meetings (January and February 2021). Wave 1 vaccine concerns in all communities included information needs, vaccine safety, and speed of vaccine development. Lack of trust in government and the pharmaceutical industry was influential, particularly among African American/Black and Native American participants. Participants showed more willingness to get vaccinated at wave 2 than at wave 1, indicating that many of their information needs had been addressed. Hesitancy remained greater among African American/Black and Native American participants than among Hispanic participants. Participants in all groups indicated that conversations tailored to their community and with those most trustworthy to them would be helpful. To overcome vaccine hesitancy, we propose a model of fully considered SARS-CoV-2 vaccine decision making, whereby public health departments supply information, align with community values and recognize lived experiences, offer support for decision making, and make vaccination easy and convenient.
Published: 24 March 2023
Public Health Reports; https://doi.org/10.1177/00333549231163531
Early during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) leveraged an existing surveillance system infrastructure to monitor COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States. Given the time needed to report individual-level (also called line-level) COVID-19 case and death data containing detailed information from individual case reports, CDC designed and implemented a new aggregate case surveillance system to inform emergency response decisions more efficiently, with timelier indicators of emerging areas of concern. We describe the processes implemented by CDC to operationalize this novel, multifaceted aggregate surveillance system for collecting COVID-19 case and death data to track the spread and impact of the SARS-CoV-2 virus at national, state, and county levels. We also review the processes established to acquire, process, and validate the aggregate number of cases and deaths due to COVID-19 in the United States at the county and jurisdiction levels during the pandemic. These processes include time-saving tools and strategies implemented to collect and validate authoritative COVID-19 case and death data from jurisdictions, such as web scraping to automate data collection and algorithms to identify and correct data anomalies. This topical review highlights the need to prepare for future emergencies, such as novel disease outbreaks, by having an event-agnostic aggregate surveillance system infrastructure in place to supplement line-level case reporting for near–real-time situational awareness and timely data.
Published: 23 March 2023
Public Health Reports; https://doi.org/10.1177/00333549231161339
Objective: Timely data on drug overdose deaths can help identify community needs, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, and allocate resources. We identified variations in death investigation and reporting systems within and between states that affect the timeliness and accuracy of death certificate information. Methods: The HEALing Communities Study (HCS) is a community-engaged, data-driven approach to combating the opioid crisis in 67 communities in 4 states: Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio. HCS conducted a survey of coroners and medical examiners to understand variability in drug overdose death data. We compared survey results in Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio with national data to investigate the completeness of provisional death counts by type of death investigation system. Results: Communities in each HCS state had different ways of collecting and reporting mortality data. Completion of death certificates for drug overdoses ranged from <2 weeks in 23% (7 of 31) of those surveyed to more than 3 months in 10% (3 of 31) of those surveyed. Variabilities in the timeliness of reporting drug overdose deaths were not associated with type of coroner or medical examiner office in each state, urban versus rural setting, or specificity of drug information on the death certificate. Conclusion: Having specific drug information on the death certificate may increase death certificate quality, comparability, and accuracy. We recommend the following: (1) all coroners and medical examiners should be trained on conducting death investigations, interpreting toxicology reports, and completing death certificates; (2) 1 office in each state should oversee all coroners and medical examiners to increase data consistency; and (3) communities should identify and address barriers to timely death certification.
Published: 18 March 2023
Public Health Reports, Volume 138, pp 389-391; https://doi.org/10.1177/00333549231154643
Public Health Reports; https://doi.org/10.1177/00333549231156569
Objectives: Before the 2017-2018 school year, Pennsylvania shortened the grace period for provisional entrants—kindergarteners who are not up-to-date on vaccination and do not have medical or nonmedical exemption—from 8 months to 5 days. We analyzed the impact of this change on school-entry vaccination status. Methods: Using data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health for school years 2015-2016 through 2018-2019, we examined state-level trends in Pennsylvania kindergarteners’ vaccination status, including the percentage who were up-to-date on each required vaccine, provisionally enrolled, medically exempted from vaccination, and nonmedically exempted from vaccination. Using the Spearman correlation coefficient, we assessed associations at the school level among changes in kindergarteners’ vaccination status after the grace period was shortened. Results: From 2016-2017 to 2017-2018, the provisional entrance rate of kindergarteners in Pennsylvania decreased substantially after the change in the grace period (from 8.1% to 2.2%), the medical exemption rate remained stable, and the nonmedical exemption rate increased slightly (from 1.8% to 2.5%). The percentage of kindergarteners up-to-date on required vaccines increased or remained stable across the study period except for polio, which decreased from 97.9% in 2015-2016 to 96.2% in 2018-2019. The change in provisional entrance rate was negatively associated with change in kindergarteners up-to-date on required vaccines (ρ range, −0.30 to −0.70) but not with change in medical or nonmedical exemptions (ρ range, −0.01 to −0.08). Conclusions: Efforts to reduce provisional entrants may increase the percentage of kindergarteners up-to-date on vaccinations at school entry without a corresponding increase in exemptions.
Public Health Reports; https://doi.org/10.1177/00333549231155867
Objective: Although vaccination reduces the risk of severe COVID-19, fatal COVID-19 cases after vaccination can occur. We examined the characteristics of decedents with COVID-19–related mortality to help inform discussions about vaccination, boosters, and mitigation strategies. Methods: We examined COVID-19–related deaths in Kentucky resulting from infections occurring from July 1 through August 13, 2021. We used records from case investigations, medical records, the Kentucky Health Information Exchange, and the Kentucky Immunization Registry to determine demographic information, vaccination status, and underlying health conditions, including calculation of the Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI). We calculated mortality incidence rates by vaccination status by using data for unvaccinated and fully vaccinated populations in Kentucky as of July 1, 2021. Results: In total, 777 COVID-19–related deaths occurred in Kentucky during the study period; 592 (76.2%) occurred among unvaccinated people. Compared with unvaccinated decedents, fully vaccinated decedents were older (median age, 77 vs 65 years; P < .001), had higher comorbidity levels (median CCI, 3 vs 1; P < .001), and were more likely to have immunocompromised health status (26.4% vs 16.0%; P = .003). Diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and chronic lung disease were more common among vaccinated decedents than among unvaccinated decedents. Unvaccinated adults had a significantly higher risk of death than fully vaccinated adults (incidence rate ratio for age 20-49 years: 20.5 [95% CI, 6.5-64.8]; 50-64 years: 14.6 [95% CI, 9.4-22.7]; ≥65 years: 10.2 [95% CI, 8.3-12.4]). Conclusions: Immunocompromised health status, older age, and higher comorbidity were prevalent among fully vaccinated decedents, suggesting adults with these characteristics may benefit from additional protection strategies. Further understanding of the protection of additional and booster doses is needed.
Public Health Reports; https://doi.org/10.1177/00333549231154570
Objectives: The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc (ITCA) Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides nutrition services for families by partnering with local vendors. In 2009, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) instituted the WIC Vendor Cost Containment Final Rule, which required WIC programs to group vendors with similar characteristics. USDA issued guidance for evaluating and constructing vendor peer grouping systems in 2017. We constructed vendor peer groups using USDA recommended methods. Methods: We used ITCA WIC vendor and redemption data to construct composite variables for mean food basket cost as the outcome in linear models using the following predictors: business model, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) store type, WIC total sales, number of Universal Product Codes (UPCs) redeemed, number of cash registers, store square footage, rural–urban commuting area codes, 2010 Frontier and Remote (FAR) area codes, distance to the closest interstate in miles, and urban or nonurban location. We developed an ITCA WIC vendor peer group system. Results: We examined 146 ITCA WIC vendors. Final complete vendor peer groups for ITCA WIC in linear regression models included SNAP store type ( P < .001), number of cash registers ( P < .017), and FAR codes ( P < .001). FAR codes were important, while other geography measures were not. Conclusions: Using vendor peer groups can improve cost containment measures and the integrity of WIC services. Other WIC programs can use FAR codes as a USDA-required geography measure for local vendor peer group evaluations.
Public Health Reports; https://doi.org/10.1177/00333549231155876
Objectives: Mammography is a screening tool for early detection of breast cancer. Uptake in screening use in states can be influenced by Medicaid coverage and eligibility policies, public health outreach efforts, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–funded National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. We described state-specific mammography use in 2020 and changes as compared with 2012. Methods: We estimated the proportion of women aged ≥40 years who reported receiving a mammogram in the past 2 years, by age group, state, and demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, using 2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data. We also compared 2020 state estimates with 2012 estimates. Results: The proportion of women aged 50-74 years who received a mammogram in the past 2 years was 78.1% (95% CI, 77.4%-78.8%) in 2020. Across measures of socioeconomic status, mammography use was generally lower among women who did not have health insurance (52.0%; 95% CI, 48.3%-55.6%) than among those who did (79.9%; 95% CI, 79.3%-80.6%) and among those who had a usual source of care (49.4%; 95% CI, 46.1%-52.7%) than among those who did not (81.0%; 95% CI, 80.4%-81.7%). Among women aged 50-74 years, mammography use varied across states, from a low of 65.2% (95% CI, 61.4%-69.0%) in Wyoming to a high of 86.1% (95% CI, 83.8%-88.3%) in Massachusetts. Four states had significant increases in mammography use from 2012 to 2020, and 8 states had significant declines. Conclusion: Mammography use varied widely among states. Use of evidence-based interventions tailored to the needs of local populations and communities may help close gaps in the use of mammography.
Published: 11 March 2023
Public Health Reports; https://doi.org/10.1177/00333549231155869
Objective: Reports on recent mortality trends among adults aged ≥65 years are lacking. We examined trends in the leading causes of death from 1999 through 2020 among US adults aged ≥65 years. Methods: We used data from the National Vital Statistics System mortality files to identify the 10 leading causes of death among adults aged ≥65 years. We calculated overall and cause-specific age-adjusted death rates and then calculated the average annual percentage change (AAPC) in death rates from 1999 through 2020. Results: The overall age-adjusted death rate decreased on average by 0.5% (95% CI, −1.0% to −0.1%) per year from 1999 through 2020. Although rates for 7 of the top 10 causes of death decreased significantly, the rates of death from Alzheimer disease (AAPC = 3.0%; 95% CI, 1.5% to 4.5%) and from unintentional injuries (AAPC = 1.2%; 95% CI, 1.0% to 1.4%), notably falls (AAPC = 4.1%; 95% CI, 3.9% to 4.3%) and poisoning (AAPC = 6.6%; 95% CI, 6.0% to 7.2%), increased significantly. Conclusion: Public health prevention strategies and improved chronic disease management may have contributed to decreased rates in the leading causes of death. However, longer survival with comorbidities may have contributed to increased rates of death from Alzheimer disease and unintentional falls.