Identifying optimal COVID-19 policies is challenging. Therefore, COVID-19-related policy decisions must be made in the context of substantial uncertainty, a significant challenge for policy makers. In this complex environment it is increasingly important that the benefits and drawbacks of interventions are rigorously and systematically compared – including from a cost effectiveness perspective
Joshua Szanyi, Tim Wilson, Samantha Howe, Jessie Zeng, Hassan Andrabi, Tony Blakely

Objective:

In this study, we used an agent-based model to estimate morbidity, mortality, and costs over an 18-month period beginning 1 April 2022 for each scenario. Policy options were ranked on cost-effectiveness (health system only and health system plus GDP perspectives), deaths and days exceeding hospital occupancy thresholds.

Findings:

The median number of infections across the 44 policies was 6.2 million (range of medians 5.4 to 7.1 million). Higher stringency PHSMs ranked better from a health system perspective, but not a health system plus GDP perspective. The provision of respirators had minimal impact. Vaccinating all age groups was superior to both no further vaccination and targeted vaccination of individuals aged ≥ 60 years. The optimal combined policy was the rollout of a multivalent vaccine to all age groups with higher stringency PHSMs and no respirator provision.

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First published: Aug 2, 2022
Population Interventions Unit
The Population Interventions Unit is a research group at the University of Melbourne that investigates health and cost impacts of population interventions.