In an effort to combat COVID-19, vaccinations are underway in the United States. The Biden Administration has said they want to administer 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in 100 days and on January 25, the President indicated a desire to give 150 million vaccinations in 100 days.
These goals are constrained by three main factors: the supply of the vaccine, the demand from the public for the vaccine, and the ability of state, local, tribal and territorial public health departments to administer the vaccine. We hope that the supply is sufficient, that the public trusts the science and the data behind it, and that the vaccine can be administered at the desired rate.
Assuming all these things come together, we are still left to wonder – what is the ultimate benefit of the vaccines? In other words, how many cases can be prevented, and how many lives can be saved through the vaccinations? These questions are challenging and demand we solve many variables to determine the benefit of the vaccine and the number of cases and deaths averted by them. One must factor in COVID-19 vaccination rates and the varying vaccine efficacies to project the benefits you could expect to see from the ongoing vaccination campaign.
Fortunately, we are able to apply new technical tools to the problem.
IEM’s COVID-19 vaccination models shed some light on this challenge. We have used our COVID-19 models to project new cases since March 2020, assisting local and state public health officials and emergency managers with planning and operational response. We recently adapted those models to capture the impact of COVID-19 vaccine on the course of the pandemic.
The IEM Modeling and Emerging Technology teams developed a visualization dashboard so you can see what the COVID-19 pandemic might look like in the absence of any vaccinations and compare that against scenarios where we can meet the goals of administering 100 million or 150 million doses of vaccine in 100 days. Users can see how many confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths could be averted under these circumstances as well as potential consequences if the vaccine administration rate is slower or faster than planned. Given the many uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, our projections for new COVID-19 cases and deaths are not meant to imply quantitative accuracy, rather they provide a way to see the relative benefits of different vaccination administration rates or different vaccination strategies.
At IEM, we are supporting our federal, state, local, tribal, territorial and private sector partners as they respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope this new tool will offer insights that officials can use to determine the best course of action for their jurisdictions.
Dr. Sid Baccam, Manager, Emerging Technology