TitleOptimizing allocation for a delayed influenza vaccination campaign.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsMedlock, J, Meyers, LAncel, Galvani, A
JournalPLoS currents
Date Published2009

During unexpected infectious disease outbreaks, public health agencies must make effective use of limited resources. Vaccine distribution may be delayed and staggered through time, as underscored by the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. Using a mathematical model parametrized with data from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, we found that optimal allocations of vaccine among people in different age groups and people with high-risk conditions depends on the schedule of vaccine availability relative to the progress of the epidemic. For the projected schedule of H1N1 vaccine availability, the optimal strategy to reduce influenza-related deaths is to initial target high-risk people, followed by school-aged children (5-17) and then young adults (18-44). The optimal strategy to minimize hospitalizations, however, is to target ages 5-44 throughout the vaccination campaign, with only a tiny amount of vaccine used on high-risk people. We find that optimizing at each vaccine release time independently does not give the overall optimal strategy. In this manuscript, we derive policy recommendations for 2009 H1N1 vaccine allocation using a mathematical model. In addition, our optimization procedures, which consider staggered releases over the entire epidemic altogether, are applicable to other outbreaks where not all supplies are available initially.