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COVID-19 Infection in the Veterans Health Administration: Gender-specific Racial and Ethnic Differences.

Upchurch DM, Wong MS, Yuan AH, Haderlein TP, McClendon J, Christy A, Washington DL. COVID-19 Infection in the Veterans Health Administration: Gender-specific Racial and Ethnic Differences. Women's health issues : official publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health. 2022 Jan 1; 32(1):41-50.

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PURPOSE: Racial/ethnic minoritized groups, women, and economically disadvantaged groups are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We investigated racial/ethnic differences by gender in correlates of COVID-19 infection among veterans seeking health care services at the Veterans Health Administration. Little is known about gender-specific factors associated with infection among veterans. This study seeks to fill this gap. METHODS: The sample was veterans with results from a COVID-19 test (polymerase chain reaction) conducted at Veterans Health Administration facilities between March 1, 2020, and August 5, 2020, and linked to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Social Vulnerability Index data (39,223 women and 316,380 men). Bivariate, multivariate logistic, and predicted probability analyses were conducted. All analyses were stratified by gender. RESULTS: Similar percentages of women and men tested positive for COVID-19 (9.6% vs. 10.0%). In multivariate analysis, compared with non-Hispanic White women, American Indian/Alaska Native, Black, and Hispanic women all had significantly higher odds of infection. Similar racial/ethnic differences were found for men. Both older men and women ( > 40 years) had lower odds of infection, but the age cut points differed (40 for women, 55 for men). Men 80 years and older had a higher odds than those aged less than 40 years of age. For men, but not for women, being employed (vs. unemployed) was associated with an increased odds of infection, and having comorbidities was associated with decreased odds. There were significant differences within and across gender-by-race/ethnicity in infection, after adjusting for covariates. CONCLUSIONS: American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic, and Black women and men veterans are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 infection. Widespread testing and tracking, education, and outreach regarding COVID-19 mitigation and vaccination efforts are recommended.

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