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Study evaluates effectiveness of vaccine distribution, why older adults must be prioritized

Pueblo Vaccines

BOULDER, Colo. (KRDO) -- As Colorado continues its push to vaccinate seniors over 70 by February, a new study published by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder explains the science behind the state's strategy.

"This question of how the vaccine should be rolled out and maybe who should be first in line is one that we can answer with intuition," CU Boulder Assistant Professor and researcher, Daniel Larremore said.

But, he said intuition also points to other groups with high exposure risks as well.

"When intuition gives you two opposite recommendations, that's a great time to use a mathematical model to help make a decision based on facts."

He and his team of researchers created several models to study distribution strategies across countries, based on contact and susceptibility to the virus.

Groups were also divided by age, separating older adults from children, teens and those between 20-49.

"We ended up with this conclusion, that in the vast majority of scenarios, prioritizing those adults 60+ most minimized mortality."

Larremore said doubling vaccine rollout speed in the next few months could also save thousands.

"The rollout speed really does matter. You can save a huge number of more lives if you speed up vaccination."

Based on data recommendations, he said Governor Jared Polis and even the new Biden administration have recently shifted greater attention to rollout speed.

However, Larremore said there is still not enough data available to rule out other issues that could come into play.

"We don't yet know how well these vaccines that are on the market today are going to block transmission. And that's going to be something that we'll have to follow the data on."

Current CDC guidelines recommend vaccinations for groups at least 65 years or older. Governor Polis said in a news conference this week, further distribution expansion depends on supply. 

A complete version of the study's findings are published online.

Coronavirus / Health / News
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Jen Moynihan

Jen Moynihan is a weekend anchor and reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Jen here.

Comments

3 Comments

  1. “We ended up with this conclusion, that in the vast majority of scenarios, prioritizing those adults 60+ most minimized mortality.”
    .
    I don’t believe that age is the primary factor. Chronic illnesses that contribute to the morbidity of Covid are the key. They just happen to be more prevalent in older people. But healthy older people seem to survive just as well as younger healthy people.

    1. I agree. But you cannot condemn that age group for morbidity or that they perish more easily. Just being 0ver 65 -they indulged in habits they had no idea were so harmful in a future pandemic. There were no labels on tobacco until 1969. The surgeon general- only that smoking could be dangerous to your health. Obligatory but not explanatory as to the extent it might. No talk about COPD, over-drinking could kill you and in fact, it is why our many many seniors have these two to three health plagues. An educated user will most likely avoid these diseases by practicing better health habits

      1. No argument. I just think the vaccinations should be based on actual likelihood of morbidity due to medical conditions rather than statistical data of age groups. Of course, it’s easier to implement the age-related way of doing it. Heaven forbid we should do something the best way rather than taking the easy way out.

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