Utilizing direct and indirect information to improve vaccination strategies against COVID-19
Yotam Dery, M.Sc. student at the department of Industrial
31 May 2022, 14:00 PM, Room 206& via zoom
In most developed countries, current administration strategies of vaccine boosters against COVID-19 are primarily based on age- and risk-group prioritizations. These strategies fail to account for intrinsic immunological and epidemiological factors, including the rapid waning immunity of the vaccine, the longer-lasting protection gained for those asymptomatically infected, and the substantial Spatio-temporal variations in transmission dynamics. To evaluate the effectiveness of alternative booster strategies in decreasing morbidity and hospitalizations, we developed an age-, risk- and region-structured mathematical model of disease transmission. We calibrated the model with detailed data on daily COVID-19 incidence and vaccination uptake from Israel between May 15, 2020, and October 25, 2021. We found that a policy that prioritizes vaccination among susceptible individuals (e.g., via serological testing before vaccinating) can decrease morbidity and mortality by 45% compared to the current policy. Alternatively, if a direct approach to identify the susceptible is not within reach, an indirect policy is possible—by maintaining the current number of vaccine doses, while increasing the frequency and constantly changing the locations of the vaccine administrations. These findings were found to be consistent across vast ranges of realistic parameters. Our approach suggests that a substantial reduction in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations can be achieved even when keeping the same number of doses administered today.
Yotam Dery, M.Sc. student (fast track program) at the Department of Industrial Engineering and management in Tel Aviv University, specializing in business intelligence and data science. Yotam holds a B.Sc. degree in Industrial Engineering from Tel Aviv University. His research is supervised by Dr. Dan Yamin & Prof. Irad Ben-Gal.