A marginal benefit approach for vaccinating influenza "superspreaders".


We developed a framework for such an assessment derived from a transmission model of seasonal influenza parameterized to emulate typical seasonal influenza epidemics in the US. We used this framework to estimate how the marginal benefit of expanded targeted vaccination changes with the proportion of the target population already vaccinated.

The benefit of targeting additional superspreaders varies considerably as a function of both the baseline vaccination coverage and proximity to the herd immunity threshold. The general form of the marginal benefit function starts low, particularly for severe epidemics, increases monotonically until its peak at the point of herd immunity, and then plummets rapidly. We present a simplified transmission model, primarily designed to convey qualitative insight rather than quantitative precision. With appropriate contact data, future work could address more complex population structures, such as age structure and assortative mixing patterns. Our illustrative example highlights the general economic and epidemiological findings of our method but does not address intervention design, policy, and resource allocation issues related to practical implementation of this particular scenario.

There is widespread recognition that interventions targeting "superspreaders" are more effective at containing epidemics than strategies aimed at the broader

Our approach offers a means of estimating willingness to pay for search costs associated with targeted vaccination of superspreaders, which can inform policies regarding whether a targeted intervention should be implemented and, if so, up to what levels.

However, little attention has been devoted to determining optimal levels of coverage for targeted vaccination strategies, given the nonlinear relationship between program scale and the costs and benefits of identifying and successfully administering vaccination to potential superspreaders.

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