No matter how good COVID-19 vaccines are, there isn’t going to be enough made to treat everybody for at least a year. That leads to the question: Who gets which doses and when?
Undark Magazine has an article about mathematical modeling that is helping to guide decision making (read it here) that conveys the complexity:
Most modelers agree that “everything is changing with coronavirus at the speed of light,” as applied mathematician Laura Matrajt, a research associate at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, put it in an email. That includes our understanding of how the virus spreads, how it attacks the body, how having another disease at the same time might raise the risk, and what leads to super-spreader events.
So far, the research has yielded some surprising results. While children are usually prioritized for flu vaccine, for example, experts say the very young should be a lower priority for Covid-19 vaccines in the United States, because thus far young adults have been primary drivers of transmission. (This is not necessarily true across the globe; in India, for instance, where multiple generations often live together in smaller spaces, new research shows both children and young adults are spreading much of the virus in the two states studied.)
The Union-Leader had a good story about the state’s 5-group priority list (read the story here): First, residents of long-term care facilities (who have been 80% of deaths); then older folks in other group settings; then teachers, health-care workers and other front-line folks; then other essential workers; then the rest of us.