Published: May 22, 2023
Abell IR, McCaw JM, Baker CM. Understanding the impact of disease and vaccine mechanisms on the importance of optimal vaccine allocation. Infect Dis Model. 2023 May 22;8(2):539-550. doi: 10.1016/j.idm.2023.05.003. PMID: 37288288; PMCID: PMC10241858.
Vaccination is an important epidemic intervention strategy. However, it is generally unclear how the outcomes of different vaccine strategies change depending on population characteristics, vaccine mechanisms and allocation objective. In this paper we develop a conceptual mathematical model to simulate strategies for pre-epidemic vaccination. We extend the SEIR model to incorporate a range of vaccine mechanisms and disease characteristics. We then compare the outcomes of optimal and suboptimal vaccination strategies for three public health objectives (total infections, total symptomatic infections and total deaths) using numerical optimisation. Our comparison shows that the difference in outcomes between vaccinating optimally and suboptimally depends on vaccine mechanisms, disease characteristics, and objective considered. Our modelling finds vaccines that impact transmission produce better outcomes as transmission is reduced for all strategies. For vaccines that impact the likelihood of symptomatic disease or dying due to infection, the improvement in outcome as we decrease these variables is dependent on the strategy implemented. Through a principled model-based process, this work highlights the importance of designing effective vaccine allocation strategies. We conclude that efficient allocation of resources can be just as crucial to the success of a vaccination strategy as the vaccine effectiveness and/or amount of vaccines available.