Optimal Scheduling and Policy Design of Two-Dose Vaccination Rollout
42 Pages Posted: 15 May 2023 Last revised: 16 May 2023
Date Written: August 23, 2021
The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine presents a complex challenge that involves coordinating supply scheduling, capacity planning, and demand management. Vaccines are in limited supply and often have irregular schedules, while appointment bookings significantly influence vaccine take-up and demand. Effectively releasing appointment slots is crucial to reducing blockages in the booking system, minimizing waiting times for vaccination, and maximizing vaccination rates.
This study proposes an optimization framework for controlling the release and booking of two-dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments and optimizing invitation schedules. The framework aims to maximize vaccination rates while minimizing appointment waiting times, considering limited vaccine supplies and uncertain demand patterns. The framework is integrated into a simulation tool that generates vaccine take-up estimates based on optimized appointment bookings and invitation schedules, enabling the evaluation of various vaccination rollout policies for policy guidance.
The optimization model and simulation tool developed in this study provide support for the Singapore Ministry of Health in vaccine rollout and policy evaluations. Notably, the Singapore government implemented a policy to double the interval between the first and second vaccine doses during the campaign to enhance the vaccination rate. Our policy evaluation indicates that this interval-stretch policy could save 30 days in vaccinating 4 million residents with at least one dose, compared to the non-stretch policy. By implementing this interval-stretch policy at the appropriate time, Singapore significantly accelerated its vaccination rate, ensuring a vaccination rate of over 75% by September 2021, just before the Delta variant outbreak in the country. The successful implementation of this policy was one of the key factors contributing to the low number of deaths in Singapore.
Note: Funding: This research is supported by the Ministry of Education, Singapore, under its 2019 Academic Research Fund Tier 3 grant call (Award ref: MOE-2019-T3-1-010)
Declaration of Interests: None to declare
Keywords: COVID-19 Vaccine, Vaccination Rollout Policy, Appointment Scheduling, Copositive Program
JEL Classification: C61, I18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation