skip to main content

Title: Influence of heterogeneous age-group contact patterns on critical vaccination rates for herd immunity to SARS-CoV-2
Abstract Currently, several western countries have more than half of their population fully vaccinated against COVID-19. At the same time, some of them are experiencing a fourth or even a fifth wave of cases, most of them concentrated in sectors of the populations whose vaccination coverage is lower than the average. So, the initial scenario of vaccine prioritization has given way to a new one where achieving herd immunity is the primary concern. Using an age-structured vaccination model with waning immunity, we show that, under a limited supply of vaccines, a vaccination strategy based on minimizing the basic reproduction number allows for the deployment of a number of vaccine doses lower than the one required for maximizing the vaccination coverage. Such minimization is achieved by giving greater protection to those age groups that, for a given social contact pattern, have smaller fractions of susceptible individuals at the endemic equilibrium without vaccination, that is, to those groups that are more vulnerable to infection.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. COVID-19 seroprevalence changes over time, with infection, vaccination, and waning immunity. Seroprevalence estimates are needed to determine when increased COVID-19 vaccination coverage is needed, and when booster doses should be considered, to reduce the spread and disease severity of COVID-19 infection. We use an age-structured model including infection, vaccination and waning immunity to estimate the distribution of immunity to COVID-19 in the Canadian population. This is the first mathematical model to do so. We estimate that 60–80% of the Canadian population has some immunity to COVID-19 by late Summer 2021, depending on specific characteristics of the vaccine and the waning rate of immunity. Models results indicate that increased vaccination uptake in age groups 12–29, and booster doses in age group 50+ are needed to reduce the severity COVID-19 Fall 2021 resurgence. 
    more » « less
  2. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Background When three SARS-CoV-2 vaccines came to market in Europe and North America in the winter of 2020–2021, distribution networks were in a race against a major epidemiological wave of SARS-CoV-2 that began in autumn 2020. Rapid and optimized vaccine allocation was critical during this time. With 95% efficacy reported for two of the vaccines, near-term public health needs likely require that distribution is prioritized to the elderly, health care workers, teachers, essential workers, and individuals with comorbidities putting them at risk of severe clinical progression. Methods We evaluate various age-based vaccine distributions using a validated mathematical model based on current epidemic trends in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. We allow for varying waning efficacy of vaccine-induced immunity, as this has not yet been measured. We account for the fact that known COVID-positive cases may not have been included in the first round of vaccination. And, we account for age-specific immune patterns in both states at the time of the start of the vaccination program. Our analysis assumes that health systems during winter 2020–2021 had equal staffing and capacity to previous phases of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic; we do not consider the effects of understaffed hospitals or unvaccinated medical staff. Results We find that allocating a substantial proportion (>75 % ) of vaccine supply to individuals over the age of 70 is optimal in terms of reducing total cumulative deaths through mid-2021. This result is robust to different profiles of waning vaccine efficacy and several different assumptions on age mixing during and after lockdown periods. As we do not explicitly model other high-mortality groups, our results on vaccine allocation apply to all groups at high risk of mortality if infected. A median of 327 to 340 deaths can be avoided in Rhode Island (3444 to 3647 in Massachusetts) by optimizing vaccine allocation and vaccinating the elderly first. The vaccination campaigns are expected to save a median of 639 to 664 lives in Rhode Island and 6278 to 6618 lives in Massachusetts in the first half of 2021 when compared to a scenario with no vaccine. A policy of vaccinating only seronegative individuals avoids redundancy in vaccine use on individuals that may already be immune, and would result in 0.5% to 1% reductions in cumulative hospitalizations and deaths by mid-2021. Conclusions Assuming high vaccination coverage (>28 % ) and no major changes in distancing, masking, gathering size, hygiene guidelines, and virus transmissibility between 1 January 2021 and 1 July 2021 a combination of vaccination and population immunity may lead to low or near-zero transmission levels by the second quarter of 2021. 
    more » « less
  3. Age heterogeneity in influenza transmission leads to significant differences in infection risk among different age groups. In this paper, an influenza model with vaccination and discrete age structure is constructed. First, we obtain the basic reproduction number and prove that the disease‐free equilibrium is globally stable at . When , the disease will persist uniformly, and there is a unique positive equilibrium, which is globally asymptotically stable under certain conditions. The model is used to analyze influenza data from 2016 to 2017 in China. By comparing various prevention and control measures, it can be found that by wearing masks to reduce contact between different age groups, while increasing vaccine coverage and reducing vaccine failure rates, the prevention and control goals can be achieved in the shortest time. However, if only the vaccine coverage rate is increased and the vaccine protection rate is strengthened, the time to reach the control target is 8 months later than the above case, and the cost is the lowest.

    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)
    Background: COVID-19 vaccines have been approved and made available. While questions of vaccine allocation strategies have received significant attention, important questions remain regarding the potential impact of the vaccine given uncertainties regarding efficacy against transmission, availability, timing, and durability. Methods: We adapted a susceptible-exposed-infectious-recovered (SEIR) model to examine the potential impact on hospitalization and mortality assuming increasing rates of vaccine efficacy, coverage, and administration. We also evaluated the uncertainty of the vaccine to prevent infectiousness as well as the impact on outcomes based on the timing of distribution and the potential effects of waning immunity. Findings: Increased vaccine efficacy against disease reduces hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19; however, the relative benefit of transmission blocking varied depending on the timing of vaccine distribution. Early in an outbreak, a vaccine that reduces transmission will be relatively more effective than one introduced later in the outbreak. In addition, earlier and accelerated implementation of a less effective vaccine is more impactful than later implementation of a more effective vaccine. These findings are magnified when considering the durability of the vaccine. Vaccination in the spring will be less impactful when immunity is less durable. Interpretation: Policy choices regarding non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as social distancing and face mask use, will need to remain in place longer if the vaccine is less effective at reducing transmission or distributed slower. In addition, the stage of the local outbreak greatly impacts the overall effectiveness of the vaccine in a region and should be considered when allocating vaccines. 
    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    Most research on vaccine hesitancy has focused on parental attitudes toward childhood vaccination, but it will be important to understand dimensions of vaccine hesitancy in the adult population as more adult vaccines are introduced in the future. We modified the Vaccine Hesitancy Scale to target adult vaccines and provide measures of its reliability and validity relative to influenza vaccine uptake and COVID-19 vaccination acceptance in cross-sectional internet surveys in the United States and in China. We assessed the impact of vaccine hesitancy on influenza and COVID-19 vaccination using multivariable regression modeling, which informed concurrent validity of the adult Vaccine Hesitancy Scale (aVHS). Among 1103 participants in the March 2020 China survey, 5.4% would not accept a COVID-19 vaccine, whereas this figure was 18.8% for the March 2020 US survey and 27.3% for the June 2020 US survey. The aVHS exhibits good internal consistency in all three surveys. Models adjusted for age, gender and income level show that prevalence of COVID-19 vaccine acceptance was a fraction as high in those who scored higher on the VHS than those who scored lower on all three surveys. Prevalence of past and future flu vaccine acceptance was a fraction as high in those with higher aVHS scores than those with lower scores. Prevalence of COVID-19 vaccine acceptance is lower in those with higher vaccine hesitancy scores, which supports the scale’s concurrent validity. The aVHS exhibits good internal consistency, making it a valid and reliable tool for measuring vaccination uptake. 
    more » « less