APH researcher Ron Herings (endowed professor Pharmaco-epidemiology and Healthcare Optimization at Amsterdam UMC) reflects in number 2 of ICT&health on an algorithm, developed by researchers of COVID-DATA NL, that helps to decide which patients needs to be protected first.

In health care it is important to allocate resources properly. Especially during a pandemic it is crucial that resources such as hospital beds and vaccines are available for those that are in most need. Based on this premise, researchers of the COVID-DATA NL consortium developed an algorithm to calculate which patients in general practice should be protected first and vaccinated if possible. In the interview, Herings reflects on this algorithm.

He stresses the importance of the role of the general practice as a data provider. Moreover, he explains the decisions that were made during the development of the algorithm and what requirements it must comply with. Herings concludes with the achievement that should be met with the algorithm.

The algorithm makes it possible to develop different scenarios of what vaccination order would be the quickest, most effective and safest. The model calculations show that with a vaccination coverage of approximately 8% can lead to a halving of hospital admissions. This reduction can only be reached with a vaccination coverage of 50% when the vaccination allocation is random and 24% when only prioritizing over-sixty-year-olds.  The model provides an insight on how many vaccines are needed and what the most efficient way is to use them to prevent hospital admissions and deaths.