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Quantifying the impact of delaying the second COVID-19 vaccine dose in England: a mathematical modelling study

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Title: Quantifying the impact of delaying the second COVID-19 vaccine dose in England: a mathematical modelling study
Authors: Imai, N
Rawson, T
Knock, E
Sonabend, R
Elmaci, Y
Perez-Guzman, P
Whittles, L
Thekke Kanapram, D
Gaythorpe, K
Hinsley, W
Djaafara, B
Wang, H
Fraser, K
Fitzjohn, R
Hogan, A
Doohan, P
Ghani, A
Ferguson, N
Baguelin, M
Cori, A
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Background: The UK was the first country to start national COVID-19 vaccination programmes, initially administering doses 3-weeks apart. However, early evidence of high vaccine effectiveness after the first dose and the emergence of the Alpha variant prompted the UK to extend the interval between doses to 12-weeks. In this study, we aim to quantify the impact of delaying the second vaccine dose on the epidemic in England. Methods: We used a previously described model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, calibrated to English COVID-19 surveillance data including hospital admissions, hospital occupancy, seroprevalence data, and population-level PCR testing data using a Bayesian evidence synthesis framework. We modelled and compared the epidemic trajectory assuming that vaccine doses were administered 3-weeks apart against the real reported vaccine roll-out schedule. We estimated and compared the resulting number of daily infections, hospital admissions, and deaths. Scenarios spanning a range of vaccine effectiveness and waning assumptions were investigated. Findings: We estimate that delaying the interval between the first and second COVID-19 vaccine doses from 3- to 12-weeks prevented an average 58,000 COVID-19 hospital admissions and 10,100 deaths between 8th December 2020 and 13th September 2021. Similarly, we estimate that the 3-week strategy would have resulted in more infections and deaths compared to the 12-week strategy. Across all sensitivity analyses the 3-week strategy resulted in a greater number of hospital admissions. Interpretation: England’s delayed second dose vaccination strategy was informed by early real-world vaccine effectiveness data and a careful assessment of the trade-offs in the context of limited vaccine supplies in a growing epidemic. Our study shows that rapidly providing partial (single dose) vaccine-induced protection to a larger proportion of the population was successful in reducing the burden of COVID-19 hospitalisations and deaths. There is benefit in carefully considering and adapting guidelines in light of new emerging evidence and the population in question. Funding: National Institute for Health Research, UK Medical Research Council, Jameel Institute, Wellcome Trust, and UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, National Health and Medical Research Council.
Issue Date: Mar-2023
Date of Acceptance: 14-Dec-2022
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/101401
DOI: 10.1016/S2468-2667(22)00337-1
ISSN: 2468-2667
Publisher: Elsevier
Start Page: e174
End Page: e183
Journal / Book Title: The Lancet Public Health
Volume: 8
Issue: 3
Copyright Statement: Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an Open Access article under the CC BY 4.0 license
Publication Status: Published
Online Publication Date: 2023-02-09
Appears in Collections:Department of Infectious Diseases
Faculty of Medicine
Imperial College London COVID-19
School of Public Health

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