Optimizing vaccine allocation for COVID-19 vaccines: potential role of single-dose vaccination

medRxiv [Preprint]. 2021 Apr 15:2020.12.31.20249099. doi: 10.1101/2020.12.31.20249099.


Most COVID-19 vaccines require two doses, however with limited vaccine supply, policymakers are considering single-dose vaccination as an alternative strategy. Using a mathematical model combined with optimization algorithms, we determined optimal allocation strategies with one and two doses of vaccine under various degrees of viral transmission. Under low transmission, we show that the optimal allocation of vaccine vitally depends on the single-dose efficacy (SDE). With high SDE, single-dose vaccination is optimal, preventing up to 22% more deaths than a strategy prioritizing two-dose vaccination for older adults. With low or moderate SDE, mixed vaccination campaigns with complete coverage of older adults are optimal. However, with modest or high transmission, vaccinating older adults first with two doses is best, preventing up to 41% more deaths than a single-dose vaccination given across all adult populations. Our work suggests that it is imperative to determine the efficacy and durability of single-dose vaccines, as mixed or single-dose vaccination campaigns may have the potential to contain the pandemic much more quickly.

Publication types

  • Preprint