TY - JOUR

T1 - Vaccination and herd immunity thresholds in heterogeneous populations

AU - Elbasha, Elamin H.

AU - Gumel, Abba B.

N1 - Funding Information:
ABG acknowledges the support, in part, of the Simons Foundation (Award #585022) and the National Science Foundation (DMS-2052363). The authors are grateful to the anonymous reviewers and the handling editor for their very constructive comments.
Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

PY - 2021/12

Y1 - 2021/12

N2 - It has been suggested, without rigorous mathematical analysis, that the classical vaccine-induced herd immunity threshold (HIT) assuming a homogeneous population can be substantially higher than the minimum HIT obtained when considering population heterogeneities. We investigated this claim by developing, and rigorously analyzing, a vaccination model that incorporates various forms of heterogeneity and compared it with a model that considers a homogeneous population. By employing a two-group vaccination model in heterogeneous populations, we theoretically established conditions under which heterogeneity leads to different HIT values, depending on the relative values of the contact rates for each group, the type of mixing between the groups, the relative vaccine efficacy, and the relative population size of each group. For example, under biased random mixing assumption and when vaccinating a given group results in disproportionate prevention of higher transmission per capita, we show that it is optimal to vaccinate that group before vaccinating the other groups. We also found situations, under biased assortative mixing assumption, where it is optimal to vaccinate more than one group. We show that regardless of the form of mixing between the groups, the HIT values assuming a heterogeneous population are always lower than the HIT values obtained from a corresponding model with a homogeneous population. Using realistic numerical examples and parametrization (e.g., assuming assortative mixing together with vaccine efficacy of 95% and the value of the basic reproduction number, R, of the model set at R= 2.5), we demonstrate that the HIT value generated from a model that considers population heterogeneity (e.g., biased assortative mixing) is significantly lower (40%) compared with a HIT value of 63% obtained if the model uses homogeneous population.

AB - It has been suggested, without rigorous mathematical analysis, that the classical vaccine-induced herd immunity threshold (HIT) assuming a homogeneous population can be substantially higher than the minimum HIT obtained when considering population heterogeneities. We investigated this claim by developing, and rigorously analyzing, a vaccination model that incorporates various forms of heterogeneity and compared it with a model that considers a homogeneous population. By employing a two-group vaccination model in heterogeneous populations, we theoretically established conditions under which heterogeneity leads to different HIT values, depending on the relative values of the contact rates for each group, the type of mixing between the groups, the relative vaccine efficacy, and the relative population size of each group. For example, under biased random mixing assumption and when vaccinating a given group results in disproportionate prevention of higher transmission per capita, we show that it is optimal to vaccinate that group before vaccinating the other groups. We also found situations, under biased assortative mixing assumption, where it is optimal to vaccinate more than one group. We show that regardless of the form of mixing between the groups, the HIT values assuming a heterogeneous population are always lower than the HIT values obtained from a corresponding model with a homogeneous population. Using realistic numerical examples and parametrization (e.g., assuming assortative mixing together with vaccine efficacy of 95% and the value of the basic reproduction number, R, of the model set at R= 2.5), we demonstrate that the HIT value generated from a model that considers population heterogeneity (e.g., biased assortative mixing) is significantly lower (40%) compared with a HIT value of 63% obtained if the model uses homogeneous population.

KW - Basic reproduction number

KW - Herd immunity threshold

KW - Heterogeneity

KW - Homogeneous population

KW - Mixing pattern

KW - SVIR model

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U2 - 10.1007/s00285-021-01686-z

DO - 10.1007/s00285-021-01686-z

M3 - Article

C2 - 34878609

AN - SCOPUS:85120901589

VL - 83

JO - Journal of Mathematical Biology

JF - Journal of Mathematical Biology

SN - 0303-6812

IS - 6-7

M1 - 73

ER -