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Analysis of Delayed Vaccination Regimens: A Mathematical Modeling Approach

Published: 20 July 2021
 by  MDPI
Epidemiologia , Volume 2, pp 271-293; doi:10.3390/epidemiologia2030021

Abstract: The first round of vaccination against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) began in early December of 2020 in a few countries. There are several vaccines, and each has a different efficacy and mechanism of action. Several countries, for example, the United Kingdom and the USA, have been able to develop consistent vaccination programs where a great percentage of the population has been vaccinated (May 2021). However, in other countries, a low percentage of the population has been vaccinated due to constraints related to vaccine supply and distribution capacity. Countries such as the USA and the UK have implemented different vaccination strategies, and some scholars have been debating the optimal strategy for vaccine campaigns. This problem is complex due to the great number of variables that affect the relevant outcomes. In this article, we study the impact of different vaccination regimens on main health outcomes such as deaths, hospitalizations, and the number of infected. We develop a mathematical model of COVID-19 transmission to focus on this important health policy issue. Thus, we are able to identify the optimal strategy regarding vaccination campaigns. We find that for vaccines with high efficacy (>70%) after the first dose, the optimal strategy is to delay inoculation with the second dose. On the other hand, for a low first dose vaccine efficacy, it is better to use the standard vaccination regimen of 4 weeks between doses. Thus, under the delayed second dose option, a campaign focus on generating a certain immunity in as great a number of people as fast as possible is preferable to having an almost perfect immunity in fewer people first. Therefore, based on these results, we suggest that the UK implemented a better vaccination campaign than that in the USA with regard to time between doses. The results presented here provide scientific guidelines for other countries where vaccination campaigns are just starting, or the percentage of vaccinated people is small.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2 virus / vaccination / delayed dose / mathematical modeling / simulation

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