The challenges of the coming mass vaccination and exit strategy in prevention and control of COVID-19, a modelling study
With success in the development of COVID-19 vaccines, it is urgent and challenging to analyse how the coming large-scale vaccination in the population and the growing public desire of relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) interact to impact the prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using mathematical models, we focus on two aspects: 1) how the vaccination program should be designed to balance the dynamic exit of NPIs; 2) how much the vaccination coverage is needed to
... erage is needed to avoid a second wave of the epidemics when the NPIs exit in stages. We address this issue globally, and take six countries--China, Brazil, Indonesia, Russia, UK, and US-in our case study. We showed that a dynamic vaccination program in three stages can be an effective approach to balance the dynamic exit of the NPIs in terms of mitigating the epidemics. The vaccination rates and the accumulative vaccination coverage in these countries are estimated by fitting the model to the real data. We observed that the required effective vaccination coverages are greatly different to balance the dynamic exit of NPIs in these countries, providing a quantitative criterion for the requirement of an integrative package of NPIs. We predicted the epidemics under different vaccination rates for these countries, and showed that the vaccination can significantly decrease the peak value of a future wave. Furthermore, we found that a lower vaccination coverage can result in a subsequent wave once the NPIs exit. Therefore, there is a critical (minimum) vaccination coverage, depending on effectiveness of NPIs to avoid a subsequent wave. We estimated the critical vaccination coverages for China, Brazil, and Indonesia under different scenarios. In conclusion, we quantitatively showed that the dynamic vaccination program can be the effective approach to supplement or even eventually replace NPIs in mitigating the epidemics and avoiding future waves, and we suggest that country level-based exit strategies of the NPIs should be considered, according to the possible quarantine rate and testing ability, and the accessibility, affordability and efficiency of the vaccines.