So I am a data analyst (as a caveat, not one who work on vaccines, immunology or health) and I have been intrigued by the rate of the UK vaccination program and the decision to wait 12 weeks until the second dose. On my daily walk for exercise I was contemplating the numbers and the fact that to get all these people a second dose after 12 weeks without increasing the total daily vaccinations would mean slowing down the 1st doses. My brain immediately wondered how that might impact when I might get vaccinated (as a 30 something person with no underlying health conditions). So I built a model….
This is a super basic model and I am sure that people who know what they are doing with these types of things will tell me I am missing something (Do please leave a comment below)
So what did I find?
There are a few interesting pieces…. The first is it looks like we start to hit capacity constraints around mid-April. At this point the people coming up to 12 weeks starts to overtake our ability to give first doses. By my calculation by 11/04 we will have to stop all first doses to ‘catch up’ for 6 weeks and we then ramp up through mid-July again on first doses for the next group.
If we assume we are never vaccinating under-16s then by August pretty much everybody should have a first dose (ties in with what the government has been saying) and by Christmas everybody who wants one should have had 2 doses.
There are a few things that drive this pattern. I have assumed the ambition is to get as many people their first dose as soon as possible, so far this appears to have been the stated ambition. I have also assumed no person is allowed to wait more than 12 weeks between their first and second dose.
Most crucially, I have assumed that 2.5m vaccination doses per week is the maximum we can achieve. Clearly if we can do more than this then the timeline gets accelerated. Although given what the government has stated about its ambitions to get people vaccinated by certain dates it does not sound like they believe a very significant amount of acceleration is coming. This does tie in with their assertion that the limiting factor is vaccine supply and not distribution.
So what does this mean for me? My guess would be I might get my first dose at some point in the Summer and my second dose some time in late Autumn but we shall see, still plenty of unknowns. Stay safe out there!