Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Department Colloquium


Caroline Colijn (Simon Fraser University)

Friday, March 5th, 2021

Time: 2:30 p.m.  Place: Online (via Zoom)

Speaker: Caroline Colijn (Simon Fraser University)

Title: Mathematical models and the case for vaccinating essential workers sooner

Abstract: We develop the first mathematical model incorporating long COVID and COVID complications. It also includes an age- and essential-work contact structure. We compare the model to BC data on incident COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. With good agreement we proceed to compare the benefits of different vaccine rollout strategies. We find that where the pandemic is controlled with widespread distancing, limiting the transmission rate, strategies that prioritize high-contact workers early in the program have considerable benefits compared to oldest-first orders. Benefits hold for infections, hospitalizations and deaths, as well as for long COVID and chronic impacts. We estimate large net monetary benefits saved by such a program. Finally, we illustrate the intuition behind this result using a simple model accounting for a higher risk of a severe outcome in some groups (eg the elderly) vs a higher risk of exposure and transmission in others (eg high-contact workers).

Caroline Colijn joined Simon Fraser University's Department of Mathematics in 2018 as a Canada 150 Research Chair in Mathematics for Evolution, Infection and Public Health. Her work is at the interface of mathematics and the epidemiology and evolution of pathogens. Prof. Colijn was recently awarded the Radio-Canada Scientist of the Year for 2020.