Ethnic and social inequalities in COVID-19 outcomes in Scotland : protocol for early pandemic evaluation and enhanced surveillance of COVID-19 (EAVE II)

Henery, Paul and Vasileiou, Eleftheria and Hainey, Kirsten J and Buchanan, Duncan and Harrison, Ewen and Leyland, Alastair H and Alexis, Thomas and Robertson, Chris and Agrawal, Utkarsh and Ritchie, Lewis and Stock, Sarah Jane and McCowan, Colin and Docherty, Annemarie and Kerr, Steven and Marple, James and Wood, Rachael and Moore, Emily and Simpson, Colin R and Sheikh, Aziz and Katikireddi, Srinivasa Vittal (2021) Ethnic and social inequalities in COVID-19 outcomes in Scotland : protocol for early pandemic evaluation and enhanced surveillance of COVID-19 (EAVE II). BMJ open, 11 (8). e048852. ISSN 2044-6055

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    Evidence from previous pandemics, and the current COVID-19 pandemic, has found that risk of infection/severity of disease is disproportionately higher for ethnic minority groups, and those in lower socioeconomic positions. It is imperative that interventions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are targeted towards high-risk populations. We will investigate the associations between social characteristics (such as ethnicity, occupation and socioeconomic position) and COVID-19 outcomes and the extent to which characteristics/risk factors might explain observed relationships in Scotland. The primary objective of this study is to describe the epidemiology of COVID-19 by social factors. Secondary objectives are to (1) examine receipt of treatment and prevention of COVID-19 by social factors; (2) quantify ethnic/social differences in adverse COVID-19 outcomes; (3) explore potential mediators of relationships between social factors and SARS-CoV-2 infection/COVID-19 prognosis; (4) examine whether occupational COVID-19 differences differ by other social factors and (5) assess quality of ethnicity coding within National Health Service datasets. We will use a national cohort comprising the adult population of Scotland who completed the 2011 Census and were living in Scotland on 31 March 2020 (~4.3 million people). Census data will be linked to the Early Assessment of Vaccine and Anti-Viral Effectiveness II cohort consisting of primary/secondary care, laboratory data and death records. Sensitivity/specificity and positive/negative predictive values will be used to assess coding quality of ethnicity. Descriptive statistics will be used to examine differences in treatment and prevention of COVID-19. Poisson/Cox regression analyses and mediation techniques will examine ethnic and social differences, and drivers of inequalities in COVID-19. Effect modification (on additive and multiplicative scales) between key variables (such as ethnicity and occupation) will be assessed. Ethical approval was obtained from the National Research Ethics Committee, South East Scotland 02. We will present findings of this study at international conferences, in peer-reviewed journals and to policy-makers.