Vaccinating the over 60s is the most effective way to cut deaths from coronavirus, researchers reported Thursday.
A mathematical model looking at various vaccination strategies shows that vaccinating younger adults does more to stop the overall spread of the virus, but immunizing the older groups saves more lives.
“We found that across countries those aged 60 and older should be prioritized to minimize deaths,” the team at the University of Colorado Boulder and the Harvard School of Public Health wrote in their report published in the journal Science.
The models they ran did not include the benefits of vaccinating people with chronic health conditions, who also have a high risk of severe disease and death compared to young healthy people. They also did not consider the current plan of vaccinating frontline health care workers and essential workers first. And they did not include vaccinating children in their modeling.
“The role of children during this pandemic has been unclear. Under our assumptions about susceptibility by age, children are not the major drivers of transmission in communities, consistent with emerging evidence,” they wrote. “Thus, our results differ from the optimal distribution for influenza vaccines, which prioritize school-age children and adults age 30-39.”
The federal government has already asked states to shift to vaccinating people over 65.