Sizing Up Stockpiles of Children's Vaccines

An engineering method shows public health implications of various approaches to vaccine stockpiles.

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According to Jacobson, the model also demonstrates that the vaccine stockpile could be used strategically to actively increase vaccine coverage or to protect society from disease outbreaks. He says, "At the beginning of an especially virulent disease outbreak, for example, it may even make sense to deplete the vaccine stockpile."

The researchers say that their approach could be modified to include other factors or conditions involved in decisions about vaccine stockpiles. One avenue to explore within the framework is the impact of a potential vaccine shortage in terms of the number of fatalities or QALYs (quality-adjusted life-years, which take into account both quantity and the quality of life generated by health care interventions). Another area of investigation, given the long-lasting effect of vaccination, is to extend the current model over multiple time periods.

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