Model-informed COVID-19 vaccine prioritization strategies by age and serostatus

Science. 2021 Feb 26;371(6532):916-921. doi: 10.1126/science.abe6959. Epub 2021 Jan 21.


Limited initial supply of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccine raises the question of how to prioritize available doses. We used a mathematical model to compare five age-stratified prioritization strategies. A highly effective transmission-blocking vaccine prioritized to adults ages 20 to 49 years minimized cumulative incidence, but mortality and years of life lost were minimized in most scenarios when the vaccine was prioritized to adults greater than 60 years old. Use of individual-level serological tests to redirect doses to seronegative individuals improved the marginal impact of each dose while potentially reducing existing inequities in COVID-19 impact. Although maximum impact prioritization strategies were broadly consistent across countries, transmission rates, vaccination rollout speeds, and estimates of naturally acquired immunity, this framework can be used to compare impacts of prioritization strategies across contexts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / mortality
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 / transmission
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / immunology
  • Child
  • Health Priorities*
  • Humans
  • Immunogenicity, Vaccine
  • Mass Vaccination*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical
  • SARS-CoV-2 / immunology
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • COVID-19 Vaccines