Covid-19. Study concludes that vaccination should focus on the vulnerable

by Amref Health Africa

A study carried out in Kenya concludes that vaccination against covid-19 will be more cost-effective if it focuses on vulnerable people and not on reaching the entire population.

“These new data suggest that we can fight Covid-19 more effectively if we refocus our efforts on those who need it most,” said Edwine Barasa, Director of the Nairobi Program at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI). where the study was carried out.

“Vaccines work and ensuring that older people and other at-risk groups get them quickly is the best way to make the biggest health gains and is the best value for money. We hope this information will help decision-makers across the continent determine how to structure impactful, cost-effective and long-term responses to covid-19”, he added, quoted in a statement from the institution.

Scientists studied several scenarios for scaling up vaccination against the new coronavirus and tested the cost-effectiveness of each one.

The objective was to understand what would happen if the vaccination rate in the country, which is currently around 15% of the population, reached 30%, 50% or 70% of Kenyans, both in a slow (18 months) and fast (six months) scenario. months).

All scenarios were compared with a zero vaccination perspective and in all cases, the model predicted vaccinating adults over 50 years of age before expanding to the entire population.

In both the slow and fast scenarios, reaching 30% of the population with priority for adults over 50 would prevent a substantial number of new cases – 32 out of 100,000 in the slow scenario and 39 out of 100,000 in the fast scenario.

It would also reduce the number of deaths by 8,100 (54%) or 9,400 lives, respectively.

Achieving a rate of 50% and subsequently, 70% would prevent an additional 1,100 deaths in the slow scenario and 400 in the fast scenario, but the scientists concluded that it would not be cost-effective.

“With prior exposure partially protecting a large part of the Kenyan population, vaccinating young adults may no longer be cost-effective,” said the authors of the study, carried out by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).

“The landscape has changed in Covid-19,” said Justice Novignon, who leads the Health Economics unit at the African Union Centers for Disease Control (Africa CDC), quoted in the statement.

“Countries must reorient their vaccination programs for covid-19 towards strategies that save more lives for less money, especially in environments with low risk of serious illness and death and high natural immunity and with limited resources, as is the case. from Kenya and from Africa more broadly, reaching the elderly and those with comorbidities that increase risk rather than the entire population. We have to make every dollar count,” he added.

Joachim Osur, vice-rector of the International University of Amref, in Nairobi, and a specialist in public health, defended his part that Kenya should integrate covid-19 into its regular health system so that it can adopt the vaccination program against the disease while recovering the fight against other diseases, such as AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria.

Only 15% of the African population has already received the two doses of the vaccine against covid-19 and vaccination has been slowing down due to low demand and failures in distribution systems.

In Kenya, the vaccination campaign started in March 2021, one year after the first recorded case, and more than 17 million doses have been administered since then, covering 15% of the total population.

The country currently aims to vaccinate 100% of adults by the end of the year, the statement said.

Article first published on

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