Prioritizing vaccination by age and social activity to advance societal health benefits in Norway: a modelling study

Ruiyun Li, Ottar N. Bjørnstad, Nils Chr Stenseth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Vaccination has the proven effectiveness in reducing disease burden. As the emergency program is moving towards completion in many countries, there is a new urgency to appropriately assess the societal health benefits in both the near and longer term. Methods: Using an age-structured mathematical infection model, we evaluate the gains achievable by adopting the ongoing and the possible alternative vaccination strategies to reduce COVID-19 infections in the current pandemic as well as during the future successive waves in Norway. We explicitly consider three allocation strategies, with single focus group on either (i) the older age groups at high risk of dying or (ii) the core-sociable groups at high risk of exposure and onwards transmission, versus strategies focusing on both groups by (iii) switching among the high-risk to the core-sociable. Findings: Following the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) schedule, we estimate that allocating vaccines in an age-descending order may reduce around one-third of the infections; while strategy considering age-specific sociability may contribute to an additional ∼10% fewer infections. Interpretation: A key insight of our study is that prioritizing the high-risk and core-sociable groups may maximize the benefit due to both direct and indirect protections, and thus achieving the larger societal health benefits. Our analyses provides a quantitative tool to planning of future campaigns for Scandinavian and other countries with comparable infection-fatality ratios, demographies and public health infrastructure. Funding: Research Council of Norway and the Penn State University.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100200
JournalThe Lancet Regional Health - Europe
StatePublished - Nov 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy
  • Oncology
  • Internal Medicine


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