What vaccination rate(s) minimize total societal costs after ’opening up’ to COVID-19? Age-structured SIRM results for the Delta variant in Australia (New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia)

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    Using three age-structured, stochastic SIRM models, calibrated to Australian data post July 2021 with community transmission of the Delta variant, we projected possible public health outcomes (daily cases, hospitalisations, ICU beds, ventilators and fatalities) and economy costs for three states: New South Wales (NSW), Victoria (VIC) and Western Australia (WA). NSW and VIC have had on-going community transmission from July 2021 and were in ‘lockdown’ to suppress transmission. WA did not have on-going community transmission nor was it in lockdown at the model start date (October 11th 2021) but did maintain strict state border controls. We projected the public health outcomes and the economic costs of ‘opening up’ (relaxation of lockdowns in NSW and VIC or fully opening the state border for WA) at alternative vaccination rates (70%, 80% and 90%), compared peak patient demand for ICU beds and ventilators to staffed state-level bed capacity, and calculated a ‘preferred’ vaccination rate that minimizes societal costs and that varies by state. We found that the preferred vaccination rate for all states is at least 80% and that the preferred population vaccination rate is increasing with: (1) the effectiveness (infection, hospitalization and fatality) of the vaccine; (2) the lower is the daily lockdown cost; (3) the larger are the public health costs from COVID-19; (4) the higher is the rate of community transmission before opening up; and (5) the less effective are the public health measures after opening up.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPLOS Global Public Health
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

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