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Vaccination, life expectancy, and trust: Patterns of COVID-19 vaccination rates around the world

Rughinis, Cosima and Vulpe, Simona Nicoleta and Flaherty, Michael G. and Vasile, Sorina (2022): Vaccination, life expectancy, and trust: Patterns of COVID-19 vaccination rates around the world.

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We estimate patterns of covariation between COVID-19 vaccination rates and a set of widely used indicators of human, social, and economic capital across 146 countries in July 2021 and February 2022. About 70% of the variability in COVID-19 vaccination rates worldwide can be explained by differences in the Human Development Index (HDI) and, specifically, in life expectancy at birth, one year after the campaign debut. Trust in doctors and nurses adds predictive value beyond the HDI, clarifying controversial discrepancies between vaccination rates in countries with similar levels of human development and vaccine availability. Cardiovascular disease deaths, an indicator of general health system effectiveness, and infant measles immunization coverage, an indicator of country-level immunization effectiveness, are also significant, though weaker, predictors of COVID-19 vaccination success. The metrics of economic inequality, perceived corruption, poverty, and inputs into the health system have strong bivariate correlations with COVID-19 vaccination but no longer remain statistically significant when controlling for the HDI. Our analysis identified the contours of a social structure that sustains life and is reproduced through this process. COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be part of the Matthew effect of accumulating advantages and aggravating disadvantages that the pandemic inflicted on societies and communities across the world. At the same time, the remaining variability in vaccination success that cannot be pinned down through these sets of metrics points to a considerable scope for collective and individual agency in a time of crisis. The mobilization and coordination in the vaccination campaigns of citizens, medical professionals, scientists, journalists, and politicians, amon

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