In areas where COVID-19 vaccines are limited, vaccinating essential workers before older adults can reduce infections and deaths, according to a modeling study published this week in the new open access journal. PLOS Global Public Health by Nicola Mulberry of Simon Fraser University, Canada, and colleagues.
In vaccination campaigns against COVID-19, many jurisdictions are using age-based implementation strategies, reflecting the increased risk of serious infection outcomes in older adults. However, as new data emerge on the efficacy of approved COVID-19 vaccines in reducing infection and transmission, as well as minimizing severe outcomes and “prolonged COVID,” implementation strategies should be reassessed. vaccine.
In the new study, the researchers modeled the impact of five different vaccination strategies on COVID-19 infections, chronic outcomes, hospitalization, and deaths in British Columbia, Canada. For each vaccine release scenario, the vaccination rates per day matched the projected timelines published by the British Columbia Center for Disease Control. The scenarios varied as to whether or not vaccines were distributed by age group, and whether vaccination was prioritized for essential workers. In all settings, adults 80 years and older were vaccinated before any other group.
The team found that, in a variety of scenarios for COVID-19 transmission and vaccine efficacy, early vaccination of essential workers provides large reductions in infections, hospitalizations, deaths, and instances of prolonged COVID (with symptoms lasting more than 28 days). In a simulated region with limited vaccine supplies and a population of 5 million, vaccinating essential workers earlier leads to roughly 200,000 fewer infections, 600 fewer deaths, and yields a net monetary benefit of more than $ 500 million. The authors conclude that vaccination strategies that explicitly target high-contact essential workers may be key to minimizing negative COVID-19 outcomes during the vaccination launch.
Author Paul Tupper notes: “The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected essential workers, who often have lower incomes and do not have the option of working from home. Our findings suggest that prioritizing them for vaccination is not just it would help reduce this substantial disparity, but it does not even come at the cost of increased adverse outcomes in others, it is better for everyone. “
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