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The allocation of COVID-19 vaccines and antivirals against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern in East Asia and Pacific region: A modelling study.

Abstract

Vaccine efficacies were estimated from the titre distributions of 50% plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT50), assuming that PRNT50 titres of primary vaccination decreased by 2-10 folds due to antibody waning and emergence of VOCs, and an additional dose of vaccine would increase PRNT50 titres by 3- or 9-fold. We then used an existing SARS-CoV-2 transmission model to assess the outcomes of vaccine allocation strategies with and without the use of antivirals for symptomatic patients in Japan, Hong Kong, and Vietnam.

Health and Medical Research Fund, General Research Fund, AIR@InnoHK.

In view of emerging variants of concern (VOCs), we aimed to evaluate the impact of various allocation strategies of COVID-19 vaccines and antiviral such that the pandemic exit strategy could be tailored to risks and preferences of jurisdictions in the East Asia and Pacific region (EAP) to improve its efficiency and effectiveness.

Increasing primary vaccination coverage should be prioritised in the design of allocation strategies of COVID-19 vaccines and antivirals against emerging VOCs, such as Omicron, in the EAP region. Heterologous vaccination with any available vaccine as the additional dose could be considered when planning pandemic exit strategies tailored to the circumstances of EAP jurisdictions.

Increasing primary vaccination coverage was the most important contributing factor in reducing the total and peak number of COVID-19 hospitalisations, especially when population vaccine coverage or vaccine uptake among older adults was low. Providing antivirals to 50% of symptomatic infections only further reduced total and peak hospitalisations by 10-13%. The effectiveness of an additional dose of vaccine was highly dependent on the immune escape potential of VOCs and antibody waning, but less dependent on the boosting efficacy of the additional dose.

MIDAS Network Members

Mark Jit

Professor of Vaccine Epidemiology
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

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