• Canadian flag 605 James Street North Hamilton, Ontario, L8L 1J9 905-529-8558 905-577-6306

Which Age Group—Old or Young—Should Get the COVID-19 Vaccine First May Depend on Timing

A young female medical professional holds a vaccine.

By Chris Bauch, University of Waterloo; Madhur Anand, University of Guelph, and Peter C. Jentsch, University of Waterloo

COVID-19 vaccines are on the horizon. Lately, it seems like each week brings news of another clinical trial demonstrating vaccine efficacy. But if supplies are initially limited, decision-makers will need to make hard choices about who should get them first.

One approach is to prioritize groups who are most vulnerable to serious outcomes like hospitalization and death, such as the elderly. Another approach is to prioritize groups who are most responsible for spreading the infection. The question is which approach will work best in a given population.

Our team decided to study this question using our combined 30 years of experience in population modelling, including the 2003-04 SARS outbreaks and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. We developed a mathematical model of COVID-19 transmission and vaccination in Ontario, published as a preprint (a manuscript yet to be checked for errors).

Read more…