The hammer and the jab: Are COVID-19 lockdowns and vaccinations complements or substitutes?

Caulkins, J.P., Grass, D., Feichtinger, G., Hartl, R.F., Kort, P.M., Kuhn, M., Fürnkranz-Prskawetz, A., Sanchez-Romero, M., et al. (2023). The hammer and the jab: Are COVID-19 lockdowns and vaccinations complements or substitutes? European Journal of Operational Research 311 (1) 233-250. 10.1016/j.ejor.2023.04.033.

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Project: Economics of Disruptive Change (EDC)


on the values of other model parameters. That vaccines and lockdowns can act as either substitutes or complements even in a relatively simple model casts doubt on whether in more complicated models or the real world one should expect them to always be just one or the other. Within our model, for parameter values reflecting conditions in developed countries, the typical finding is to ease lockdown intensity gradually after substantial shares of the population have been vaccinated, but other strategies can be optimal for other parameter values. Reserving vaccines for those who have not yet been infected barely outperforms simpler strategies that ignore prior infection status. For certain parameter combinations, there are instances in which two quite different policies can perform equally well, and sometimes very small increases in vaccine capacity can tip the optimal solution to one that involves much longer and more intense lockdowns.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: OR in governmentCOVID-19; vaccinations; dynamic optimization; SIR models
Research Programs: Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Exploratory Modeling of Human-natural Systems (EM)
Economic Frontiers (EF)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2023 08:07
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2023 11:54

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