The access to COVID-19 vaccines on the global scale has been drastically impacted by structural socio-economic inequalities, resulting in the fact that most COVID-19 vaccines have been used in high and upper middle income countries. Here, we develop a data-driven age-stratified epidemic model to evaluate the effects of COVID-19 vaccine inequalities in eight low and middle income countries sampled from all regions of the world. The model accounts for vaccination data, non-pharmaceutical interventions, and the introduction of more transmissible strains. The modeling approach allows us the exploration of counterfactual scenarios where we either apply vaccination rates observed in high income countries or anticipate the rollout starting dates to match those of high income countries. We estimate that more than 50%, with peaks of 80%, of deaths would have been averted with respect to the actual vaccine allocation and distribution occurred in the analyzed countries. Overall, our results quantify the negative impacts of vaccines inequalities and call for the multiplication of global efforts to provide better access and support to COVID-19 vaccines in low and middle income countries.
Recommended citation: Gozzi, N., Chinazzi, M., Perra, N., & Vespignani, A. (2022). "Estimating the impact of COVID-19 vaccines allocation inequalities: a modeling study". Research Report: https://www.gleamproject.org/covid-vaccine-inequality.