The isolation of infected individuals and quarantine of their contacts are usually employed to mitigate the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Although 14-day isolation of infected individuals could effectively reduce the risk of subsequent transmission, it also substantially impacts the patient’s psychological and emotional well-being. It is, therefore, vital to investigate how the isolation duration could be shortened when effective vaccines are available. Here, an individual-based modeling approach was employed to estimate the likelihood of secondary infections and the likelihood of an outbreak following the isolation of a primary case for a range of isolation periods. Our individual-based model integrated the viral loads and infectiousness profiles of vaccinated and unvaccinated infected individuals. The effects of waning vaccine-induced immunity against infection were also considered. By simulating the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta (B.1.617.2) variant in a community, we found that in the baseline scenario in which all individuals were unvaccinated and nonpharmaceutical interventions were not used, there was an approximately 3% chance that an unvaccinated individual would lead to at least one secondary infection after being isolated for 14 days, and a sustained chain of transmission could occur with a less than 1% chance. With the outbreak risk equivalent to that of the 14-day isolation in the baseline scenario, we found that the isolation duration could be shortened to 7.33 days (95% CI 6.68–7.98) if 75% of people in the community were fully vaccinated with the BNT162b2 vaccine within the last three months. In the best-case scenario in which all individuals in the community are fully vaccinated, isolation of Delta variant-infected individuals may no longer be necessary. However, to keep the outbreak risk lower than 1%, a booster vaccination may be necessary three months after full vaccination.
Published: 20 October 2022