Nikhil Agarwal Analyzes the Trade-Offs Between Vaccine Targeting and COVID-19-Related Mortality
As vaccines to protect against SARS-CoV-2 have become increasingly available in the U.S. and other nations, how to prioritize different groups for vaccination has become a key question. Vaccine roll-outs proceed more quickly when they are less targeted by age group or other risk factors. In addition, the cost of slower vaccine distribution, in COVID-19 cases and deaths, depends on whether other pandemic mitigation measures, such as mask-wearing mandates and social distancing protocols, are sustained throughout the vaccination campaign or loosened as vaccination levels rise. NBER affiliates Nikhil Agarwal and Parag Pathak, and Andrew Komo and Chetan Patel, all of MIT, and M. Utku Unver of Boston College, analyze the trade-offs between vaccine targeting and COVID-19-related mortality, considering in particular the impact of other policies on the optimal policy. They find that the cost of shifting from a targeted to a faster vaccine roll-out is greater when other mitigation measures are relaxed. Agarwal summarizes their findings in the video above. An archive of NBER videos on pandemic-related topics may be found here.