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Evaluation of Vaccination Strategies to Compare Efficient and Equitable Vaccine Allocation by Race and Ethnicity Across Time

Identifying the most efficient COVID-19 vaccine allocation strategy may substantially reduce hospitalizations and save lives while ensuring an equitable vaccine distribution. To simulate the association of different vaccine allocation strategies with COVID-19-associated morbidity and mortality and their distribution across racial and ethnic groups. We developed and internally validated the risk of COVID-19 infection and risk of hospitalization models on randomly split training and validation data sets. These were used in a computer simulation study of vaccine prioritization among adult health plan members who were drawn from an integrated health care delivery system. The study was conducted from January 3, 2021, to June 1, 2021, in Oakland, California, and the data were analyzed during the same period. We simulated the association of different vaccine allocation strategies, including (1) random, (2) a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) proxy, (3) age based, and (4) combinations of models for the risk of adverse outcomes (CRS) and COVID-19 infection (PROVID), with COVID-19-related hospitalizations between May 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, that were randomly permuted by month across 250 simulations and assessed vaccine allocation by race and ethnicity and the neighborhood deprivation index across time. The study included 3 202 679 adult patients (mean [SD] age, 48.2 [18.0] years; 1 677 637 women [52.4%]; 1 525 042 men [47.6%]; 611 154 Asian [19.1%], 206 363 Black [6.4%], 642 344 Hispanic [20.1%], and 1 390 638 White individuals [43.4%]), of whom 36 137 (1.1%) were positive for SARS-CoV-2. A risk-based strategy (CRS/PROVID) showed the largest avoidable hospitalization estimates (4954; 95% CI, 3452-5878) followed by age-based (4362; 95% CI, 2866-5175) and CDC proxy (4085; 95% CI, 2805-5109) strategies. Random vaccination showed substantially lower reductions in adverse outcomes. Risk-based strategies also showed the largest number of avoidable COVID-19 deaths (joint CRS/PROVID) and household transmissions. Risk-based (PROVID) and CDC proxy strategies were estimated to vaccinate the highest percentage of Hispanic and Black patients in 8 months (joint CRS/PROVID: 642 570 [100%] Hispanic, 185 530 [90%] Black; PROVID: 642 570 [100%] Hispanic, 198 480 [96%] Black; CDC proxy: 605 770 [95%] Hispanic and 151 772 [74%] Black) compared with an age-based approach (438 423 [68%] Hispanic, 154 714 [75%] Black). Overall, the PROVID and joint CRS/PROVID risk-based strategies were estimated to be followed by the most patients from areas with high neighborhood deprivation index being vaccinated early. In this simulation modeling study of adults from a large integrated health care delivery system, risk-based strategies were associated with the largest estimated reductions in COVID-19 hospitalizations, deaths, and household transmissions compared with the CDC proxy and age-based strategies, with a higher proportion of Hispanic and Black patients were estimated to be vaccinated early in the process compared with the CDC strategy.

Authors: Kipnis, Patricia; Soltesz, Lauren; Escobar, Gabriel J; Myers, Laura; Liu, Vincent X

JAMA Health Forum. 2021 08;2(8):e212095. Epub 2021-08-20.

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