COVID-19 and Inequalities

The Impact

Inequality has been a marked feature of past pandemics. No surprise then that it is the disadvantaged poor that have been hardest hit by COVID-19 in the UK, as they have all over the world. Back in June, a PHE report revealed how the early impact of COVID-19 replicated existing health inequalities and, in some cases, increased them.

National and international research has continued to add more data and evidence since. 

As numbers continue fluctuate since March 2020, with hospital admissions and deaths also changing over time, it is important to reflect on what we have learned from the first months of the pandemic through to present day, especially about the effects of COVID-19 on health inequalities and what can be done to mitigate them.

Key research and information

We have, and will continue to, gather together those key pieces of research and information that highlight the links and associations of COVID-19 and Inequalities that are created and persist during this pandemic. Feel free to send to us any information you feel adds to this page and widens everyone's knowledge base.

COVID-19 and inequalities: Research and Evidence

Inclusive and sustainable economies: leaving no-one behind

  • Government approach to supporting place-based action to reduce health inequalities and build back better.

COVID-19 and inequalities | Inequality: the IFS Deaton Review

COVID-19—break the cycle of inequality - The Lancet Public Health

  • One of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic has been to illuminate far-reaching health and socioeconomic inequalities in many countries.

  • The pandemic's impact has fallen disproportionately on the most vulnerable individuals and along racial, ethnic, occupational, and socioecomic lines.

  • Inequalities in people's protection from and ability to cope with this pandemic and its tremendous societal costs stress the importance and urgency of the societal changes needed to protect population health and wellbeing in the future.

Inclusive and sustainable economies: leaving no-one behind - GOV.UK (

  • Supporting place-based action to reduce health inequalities and build back better.

CPP | Skill up to level up (

  • Skill up to level up: reducing place-based skills inequality to tackle rising unemployment In some parts of England the proportion of people without any formal qualifications is as low as one in 40.

  • In others it is more than one in five. New Centre for Progressive Policy analysis suggests that this disparity comes at the cost of hundreds of thousands of jobs. 

Unequal impact? Coronavirus, disability, and access to services: government response to the Committee’s fourth report

  • The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee published the original report in December 2020, and this is the government response.

  • It replies to the recommendations on food accessibility, the Public Sector Equality Duty, and the impacts on health and social care and education among others.

  • It also outlines plans for the National Strategy for Disabled People, to be published in spring 2021

Levelling up health

  • This All-Party Parliamentary Group for Longevity report states that Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the United Kingdom, exposing the nation’s poor health and health inequalities – 90 per cent of those who died with Covid had significant prior poor health.

  • The report explains why a new health care system is essential to confront how unhealthy the UK population is. It proposes a 10-year health improvement plan, and new health improvement fund, a shift in political attitudes that have impeded progress, clear priorities for action, and the need to challenge and change organisations that harm children and health.

Doing the work to end health inequalities caused by systemic racism | The BMJ

  • Report of a meeting organised by National Voices which aimed to examine ways to tackle racial inequalities in health.

Primary care networks and place-based working: addressing health inequalities in a Covid-19 world

  • This Health Creation Alliance report provides fresh insights from those working to address health inequalities outside the NHS about how primary care, enabled by PCNs, might access the breadth of potential solutions that are possible when they work in partnership with their communities and local partners.

Unequal pandemic, fairer recovery

  • The COVID-19 impact inquiry report COVID-19 impact inquiry publishes a comprehensive review of the factors that fuelled the UK’s COVID-19 death toll.

  • This Health Foundation report shows there is extensive evidence that poor health and existing inequalities left parts of the UK vulnerable to the virus and its devastating impact.

Alcohol consumption and harm during the COVID-19 pandemic

The cost of inequality: putting a price on health

  • This Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation paper links health to wealth and to the economy, arguing that supporting people to spend more time in good health could help not just individuals, but boost people’s time in work, reduce health and care costs, as well as welfare costs on the state.

  • Alongside investments in health, including preventive services that keep people healthier for longer, the report calls for investment in skills training and technological innovation to support increased productivity.

  • The paper is published in partnership with the International Longevity Centre and the Cass Business School at City University.

Local Reports

Rapid evaluation of targeted work to increase COVID-19 vaccination uptake in Wirral (August 2022)

  • The roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine programme has been a breakthrough and minimised the health, social and economic impact of the pandemic achieved through high levels of vaccination. 

  • Differences in health outcomes, between groups and communities, is an enduring challenge. To minimise these differences in the Covid-19 vaccine programme the Covid-19 Vaccination Health Inequalities Group was set up in April 2021 to drive forward a range of targeted interventions to address this variation. 

  • The interventions were informed by epidemiology, surveillance data, evidence and local intelligence and the methods used were outreach delivery, communication and engagement and direct follow up. 

  • The purpose of this evaluation report is to present the outcomes of subsequent interventions, delivered between November 2021 and August 2022, that continued to address the  differences in vaccine uptake.

Rapid evaluation of targeted work to increase COVID-19 vaccination uptake in Wirral (November 2021)

  • This evaluation report outlines targeted vaccination activities that have taken place in Wirral from April 2021, driven by the COVID-19 Vaccination Health Inequalities subgroup, and investigates the outcomes of these initiatives as well as any additional, unanticipated outcomes.

  • The COVID-19 Vaccination Health Inequalities subgroup was set up in April 2021 to address health inequalities in the uptake of the vaccine. The aim of the group is to support the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine programme, identifying and tackling inequalities in vaccine coverage.

  • The group had representation from Public Health, Business Intelligence, Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group, Primary Care and Healthwatch.

Risk & Outcomes of COVID-19 in Wirral (March to June 2020)

  • This is a review of data on disparities in the risk and outcomes from COVID-19 in Wirral between March and June 2020.

  • The review presents findings based on surveillance data available to Wirral Intelligence Service at the time of publication and the format was based on the Public Health England report, “Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19” (published June 2020) which takes a population health approach to the pandemic.

  • Our team continue to monitor the data closely and this report will be updated to reflect the period following June 2020 and highlight any further trends and disparities in risk and outcomes relating to COVID-19 following any future phases.

COVID-19 Mortality in Wirral (March 2021)