Research article Special Issues

Rotational worker vaccination provides indirect protection to vulnerable groups in regions with low COVID-19 prevalence

  • Received: 24 March 2021 Accepted: 06 October 2021 Published: 13 December 2021
  • MSC : 92C60, 97M60

  • As COVID-19 vaccines become available, different model-based approaches have been developed to evaluate strategic priorities for vaccine allocation to reduce severe illness. One strategy is to directly prioritize groups that are likely to experience medical complications due to COVID-19, such as older adults. A second strategy is to limit community spread by reducing importations, for example by vaccinating members of the mobile labour force, such as rotational workers. This second strategy may be appropriate for regions with low disease prevalence, where importations are a substantial fraction of all cases and reducing the importation rate reduces the risk of community outbreaks, which can provide significant indirect protection for vulnerable individuals. Current studies have focused on comparing vaccination strategies in the absence of importations, and have not considered allocating vaccines to reduce the importation rate. Here, we provide an analytical criteria to compare the reduction in the risk of hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) admission over four months when either older adults or rotational workers are prioritized for vaccination. Vaccinating rotational workers (assumed to be 6,000 individuals and about 1% of the Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) population) could reduce the average risk of hospitalization and ICU admission by 42%, if no community spread is observed at the time of vaccination, because epidemic spread is reduced and vulnerable individuals are indirectly protected. In contrast, vaccinating all individuals aged 75 and older (about 43,300 individuals, or 8% of the NL population) would lead to a 24% reduction in the average risk of hospitalization, and to a 45% reduction in the average risk of ICU admission, because a large number of individuals at high risk from COVID-19 are now vaccinated. Therefore, reducing the risk of hospitalization and ICU admission of the susceptible population by reducing case importations would require a significantly lower number of vaccines. Benefits of vaccinating rotational workers decrease with increasing infection prevalence in the community. Prioritizing members of the mobile labour force should be considered as an efficient strategy to indirectly protect vulnerable groups from COVID-19 exposure in regions with low disease prevalence.

    Citation: Maria M. Martignoni, Proton Rahman, Amy Hurford. Rotational worker vaccination provides indirect protection to vulnerable groups in regions with low COVID-19 prevalence[J]. AIMS Mathematics, 2022, 7(3): 3988-4003. doi: 10.3934/math.2022220

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  • As COVID-19 vaccines become available, different model-based approaches have been developed to evaluate strategic priorities for vaccine allocation to reduce severe illness. One strategy is to directly prioritize groups that are likely to experience medical complications due to COVID-19, such as older adults. A second strategy is to limit community spread by reducing importations, for example by vaccinating members of the mobile labour force, such as rotational workers. This second strategy may be appropriate for regions with low disease prevalence, where importations are a substantial fraction of all cases and reducing the importation rate reduces the risk of community outbreaks, which can provide significant indirect protection for vulnerable individuals. Current studies have focused on comparing vaccination strategies in the absence of importations, and have not considered allocating vaccines to reduce the importation rate. Here, we provide an analytical criteria to compare the reduction in the risk of hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) admission over four months when either older adults or rotational workers are prioritized for vaccination. Vaccinating rotational workers (assumed to be 6,000 individuals and about 1% of the Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) population) could reduce the average risk of hospitalization and ICU admission by 42%, if no community spread is observed at the time of vaccination, because epidemic spread is reduced and vulnerable individuals are indirectly protected. In contrast, vaccinating all individuals aged 75 and older (about 43,300 individuals, or 8% of the NL population) would lead to a 24% reduction in the average risk of hospitalization, and to a 45% reduction in the average risk of ICU admission, because a large number of individuals at high risk from COVID-19 are now vaccinated. Therefore, reducing the risk of hospitalization and ICU admission of the susceptible population by reducing case importations would require a significantly lower number of vaccines. Benefits of vaccinating rotational workers decrease with increasing infection prevalence in the community. Prioritizing members of the mobile labour force should be considered as an efficient strategy to indirectly protect vulnerable groups from COVID-19 exposure in regions with low disease prevalence.



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