The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on health systems and economies across the globe. Implementing public health measures in tandem with effective vaccination strategies have been instrumental in curtailing the burden of the pandemic. With the three vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. having varying efficacies and waning effects against major COVID-19 strains, understanding the impact of these vaccines on COVID-19 incidence and fatalities is critical. Here, we formulate and use mathematical models to assess the impact of vaccine type, vaccination and booster uptake, and waning of natural and vaccine-induced immunity on the incidence and fatalities of COVID-19 and to predict future trends of the disease in the U.S. when existing control measures are reinforced or relaxed. The results show a 5-fold reduction in the control reproduction number during the initial vaccination period and a 1.8-fold (2-fold) reduction in the control reproduction number during the initial first booster (second booster) uptake period, compared to the respective previous periods. Due to waning of vaccine-induced immunity, vaccinating up to 96% of the U.S. population might be required to attain herd immunity, if booster uptake is low. Additionally, vaccinating and boosting more people from the onset of vaccination and booster uptake, especially with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines (which confer superior protection than the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) would have led to a significant reduction in COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. Furthermore, adopting natural immunity-boosting measures is important in fighting COVID-19 and transmission rate reduction measures such as mask-use are critical in combating COVID-19. The emergence of a more transmissible COVID-19 variant, or early relaxation of existing control measures can lead to a more devastating wave, especially if transmission rate reduction measures and vaccination are relaxed simultaneously, while chances of containing the pandemic are enhanced if both vaccination and transmission rate reduction measures are reinforced simultaneously. We conclude that maintaining or improving existing control measures, and boosting with mRNA vaccines are critical in curtailing the burden of the pandemic in the U.S.

Fuente: Mathematical Biosciences
Available online 16 February 2023, 108981