Study suggests prioritizing older age groups when administering COVID-19 vaccinations

When it comes to COVID-19 vaccination efforts, prioritizing older adults is perhaps the most critical route, after medical and frontline workers, according to a new study conducted at the University of Colorado.

Appearing in the peer-reviewed journal Science, the study involved various nations with recent data on the depth of confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection, the rate of its spread, and the speed at which the vaccines were being distributed for immediate use.

During the study, the participants they oversaw had been split into different groups based on the scenario of which group was vaccinated first. The age groups are as follows: children, adults in early and mid-adulthood, and adults in late-adulthood. A separate scenario was put forth by researchers in which any participants were free to get a vaccination, when available.

After analyzing all of the results from the various age groups, the research group made a determination that prioritizing older adults, over the age of 60, resulted in more lives saved from COVID-19.

In brief: age was considered to be the most robust predictor of vulnerability when it comes to risks of fatalities associated with COVID-19, the study indicates.

“This study demonstrated the use of an age-stratified modeling approach to evaluate and compare vaccine prioritization strategies for SARS-CoV-2,” the findings say.

“After accounting for country-specific age structure, age-contact structure, infection fatality rates, and seroprevalence, as well as the age-varying efficacy of a hypothetical vaccine, we found that across countries those aged 60 and older should be prioritized to minimize deaths, assuming a return to high contact rates and pre-pandemic behavior during or after vaccine rollout,” the co-authors concluded in their findings.

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