The ISU model shows that the rollout of American vaccine was almost optimal

Audrey L. McCombs and Claus Kadelka

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s plan for who gets vaccines and in what order, saved almost as many lives and prevented almost as many infections as a theoretically perfect rollout, according to a new mathematical model we’ve developed to assess rollout of COVID-19 grafts in the United States

In December 2020, with a limited number of vaccines available, the CDC had to make a difficult decision: Who gets the COVID-19 vaccines first? It decided to divide the US population into four groups for vaccine prioritization based on age, occupation, living conditions and known COVID-19 risk factors.

Using a new model and an Iowa State University supercomputer, we compared the real CDC recommendations with 17.5 million possible strategies that also shifted the rollout into up to four phases. To calculate how well a vaccine allocation strategy worked, our model measured total deaths, cases, infections, and lost life years.

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