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PubMed; 2022.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-337393


England has experienced a heavy burden of COVID-19, with multiple waves of SARS-CoV-2 transmission since early 2020 and high infection levels following the emergence and spread of Omicron variants since late 2021. In response to rising Omicron cases, booster vaccinations were accelerated and offered to all adults in England. Using a model fitted to more than 2 years of epidemiological data, we project potential dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 infections, hospital admissions and deaths in England to December 2022. We consider key uncertainties including future behavioural change and waning immunity, and assess the effectiveness of booster vaccinations in mitigating SARS-CoV-2 disease burden between October 2021 and December 2022. If no new variants emerge, SARS-CoV-2 transmission is expected to decline, with low levels remaining in the coming months. The extent to which projected SARS-CoV-2 transmission resurges later in 2022 depends largely on assumptions around waning immunity and to some extent, behaviour and seasonality.

PubMed; 2021.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-296807


Background: Countries in the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region differ in terms of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out speed. We evaluated the health and economic impact of different age-based vaccine prioritisation strategies across this demographically and socio-economically diverse region. Methods: We fitted country-specific age-stratified compartmental transmission models to reported COVID-19 mortality in the WHO European Region to inform the immunity level before vaccine roll-out. Building upon broad recommendations from the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation (SAGE), we examined four strategies that prioritise: all adults (V+), younger (20-59 year-olds) followed by older adults (60+) (V20), older followed by younger adults (V60), and the oldest adults (75+) (V75) followed by incremental expansion to successively younger five-year age groups. We explored four roll-out scenarios based on projections or recent observations (R1-4) - the slowest scenario (R1) covers 30% of the total population by December 2022 and the fastest (R4) 80% by December 2021. Five decision-making metrics were summarised over 2021-22: mortality, morbidity, and losses in comorbidity-adjusted life expectancy (cLE), comorbidity- and quality-adjusted life years (cQALY), and the value of human capital (HC). Six sets of infection-blocking and disease-reducing vaccine efficacies were considered. Findings: The optimal age-based vaccine prioritisation strategies were sensitive to country characteristics, decision-making metrics and roll-out speeds. Overall, V60 consistently performed better than or comparably to V75. There were greater benefits in prioritising older adults when roll-out is slow and when VE is low. Under faster roll-out, V+ was the most desirable option. Interpretation: A prioritisation strategy involving more age-based stages (V75) does not necessarily lead to better health and economic outcomes than targeting broad age groups (V60). Countries expecting a slow vaccine roll-out may particularly benefit from prioritising older adults. Funding: World Health Organization, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Medical Research Council (United Kingdom), the National Institute of Health Research (United Kingdom), the European Commission, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (United Kingdom), Wellcome Trust. Research in Context: Evidence before this study: We searched PubMed and medRxiv for articles published in English from inception to 9 Jun 2021, with the search terms: ("COVID-19" OR "SARS-CoV-2") AND ("priorit*) AND ("model*") AND ("vaccin*") and identified 66 studies on vaccine prioritization strategies. Of the 25 studies that compared two or more age-based prioritisation strategies, 12 found that targeting younger adults minimised infections while targeting older adults minimised mortality;an additional handful of studies found similar outcomes between different age-based prioritisation strategies where large outbreaks had already occurred. However, only two studies have explored age-based vaccine prioritisation using models calibrated to observed outbreaks in more than one country, and no study has explored the effectiveness of vaccine prioritisation strategies across settings with different population structures, contact patterns, and outbreak history. Added-value of this study: We evaluated various age-based vaccine prioritisation strategies for 38 countries in the WHO European Region using various health and economic outcomes for decision-making, by parameterising models using observed outbreak history, known epidemiologic and vaccine characteristics, and a range of realistic vaccine roll-out scenarios. We showed that while targeting older adults was generally advantageous, broadly targeting everyone above 60 years might perform better than or comparably to a more detailed strategy that targeted the oldest age group above 75 years followed by those in the next younger five-year age band. Rapid vaccine roll-out has only been observed in a small number of countries. If vaccine coverage can reach 80% by the end of 2021, prioritising older adults may not be optimal in terms of health and economic impact. Lower vaccine efficacy was associated with greater relative benefits only under relatively slow roll-out scenarios considered. Implication of all the available evidence: COVID-19 vaccine prioritization strategies that require more precise targeting of individuals of a specific and narrow age range may not necessarily lead to better outcomes compared to strategies that prioritise populations across broader age ranges. In the WHO European Region, prioritising all adults equally or younger adults first will only optimise health and economic impact when roll-out is rapid, which may raise between-country equity issues given the global demand for COVID-19 vaccines.

BMC Med ; 19(1): 35, 2021 02 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1061076


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted routine measles immunisation and supplementary immunisation activities (SIAs) in most countries including Kenya. We assessed the risk of measles outbreaks during the pandemic in Kenya as a case study for the African Region. METHODS: Combining measles serological data, local contact patterns, and vaccination coverage into a cohort model, we predicted the age-adjusted population immunity in Kenya and estimated the probability of outbreaks when contact-reducing COVID-19 interventions are lifted. We considered various scenarios for reduced measles vaccination coverage from April 2020. RESULTS: In February 2020, when a scheduled SIA was postponed, population immunity was close to the herd immunity threshold and the probability of a large outbreak was 34% (8-54). As the COVID-19 contact restrictions are nearly fully eased, from December 2020, the probability of a large measles outbreak will increase to 38% (19-54), 46% (30-59), and 54% (43-64) assuming a 15%, 50%, and 100% reduction in measles vaccination coverage. By December 2021, this risk increases further to 43% (25-56), 54% (43-63), and 67% (59-72) for the same coverage scenarios respectively. However, the increased risk of a measles outbreak following the lifting of all restrictions can be overcome by conducting a SIA with ≥ 95% coverage in under-fives. CONCLUSION: While contact restrictions sufficient for SAR-CoV-2 control temporarily reduce measles transmissibility and the risk of an outbreak from a measles immunity gap, this risk rises rapidly once these restrictions are lifted. Implementing delayed SIAs will be critical for prevention of measles outbreaks given the roll-back of contact restrictions in Kenya.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Measles Vaccine/supply & distribution , Measles/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , COVID-19/complications , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Immunization Programs , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Kenya/epidemiology , Male , Measles/blood , Measles/complications , Vaccination Coverage