The development of vaccines has opened a way to lower the public health and societal burden of COVID-19 pandemic. To achieve sustainable gains in the long term, switching the vaccination from one target group to a more diverse portfolio should be planned appropriately. We lay out a general mathematical framework for comparing alternative vaccination roll-out strategies for the year to come: single focus groups: (i-a) the high-risk older age groups and (i-b) the core-sociable groups; and two focus groups: (ii-a) mixed vaccination of both the high-risk and core-sociable groups simultaneously and (ii-b) cyclic vaccination switching between groups. Featuring analyses of all relevant data including age pyramids for 15 representative countries with diverse social mixing patterns shows that mixed strategies that result in both direct and indirect protection of high-risk groups may be better for the overall societal health impact of COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. Of note, over time switching the priority from high-risk older age groups to core-sociable groups responsible for heightened circulation and thus indirect risk may be increasingly advantageous.
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