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Original Article Healthcare Systems and COVID-19 Mortality in Selected OECD Countries: A Panel Quantile Regression Analysis
Jalil Safaei1orcid , Andisheh Saliminezhad2corresp_iconorcid
Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health 2023;56(6):515-522
Published online: October 15, 2023
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1School of Economics, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC, Canada
2School of Health Sciences, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC, Canada
Corresponding author:  Andisheh Saliminezhad,
Received: 4 April 2023   • Revised: 22 September 2023   • Accepted: 26 September 2023

The pandemic caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has exerted an unprecedented impact on the health of populations worldwide. However, the adverse health consequences of the pandemic in terms of infection and mortality rates have varied across countries. In this study, we investigate whether COVID-19 mortality rates across a group of developed nations are associated with characteristics of their healthcare systems, beyond the differential policy responses in those countries.
To achieve the study objective, we distinguished healthcare systems based on the extent of healthcare decommodification. Using available daily data from 2020, 2021, and 2022, we applied quantile regression with non-additive fixed effects to estimate mortality rates across quantiles. Our analysis began prior to vaccine development (in 2020) and continued after the vaccines were introduced (throughout 2021 and part of 2022).
The findings indicate that higher testing rates, coupled with more stringent containment and public health measures, had a significant negative impact on the death rate in both pre-vaccination and post-vaccination models. The data from the post-vaccination model demonstrate that higher vaccination rates were associated with significant decreases in fatalities. Additionally, our research indicates that countries with healthcare systems characterized by high and medium levels of decommodification experienced lower mortality rates than those with healthcare systems involving low decommodification.
The results of this study indicate that stronger public health infrastructure and more inclusive social protections have mitigated the severity of the pandemic’s adverse health impacts, more so than emergency containment measures and social restrictions.

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JPMPH : Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health