When will the first Covid-19 vaccination campaign end?

The short answer is September, if everything continues according to the current trend and according to forecasts. The completion of the vaccination round will not put an end to Covid-19, but it is an important milestone for the exit from the health emergency

(foto: Eugene Chystiakov/Unsplash)

The vaccination campaign, as now evident from progress of official data recorded daily, has gained momentum with the spring and is continuing to sustained speed even in these first days of summer. Although some media and politicians have expressed concern about a possible decline in the rhythm of the most typically holiday months – July and August – at the moment official information refers to a possible very low drop, on the order of just a few percent.

This allows, trusting that the next few weeks will not reserve us other surprises and unexpected events, to start thinking about when it will end the first Italian vaccination campaign.

The necessary premise is that the end of the first round of administrations will not sanction the end of the pandemic nor the circulation of the Sars-Cov-2 coronavirus. On the one hand, in fact, the need to subject people to is already more than anticipated further vaccination administrations recall (at a time distance yet to be determined, but which could ensure that the first vaccinated receive the third dose already by 2021), and on the other the circulation of several viral variants it at least makes it plausible that people will need to be protected with readjusted and updated formulations to this. However, completing the campaign is by no means a secondary goal, either from the point of view symbolic be substantial, as having an overwhelming majority of vaccinated people will hopefully help to greatly reduce the number of symptomatic cases and of severe cases of the disease.

What does the end of the vaccination campaign mean

Of course, the vaccination campaign will not end when 100% of the covered Italian population is reached. First of all, today only people are vaccinated ages 12 and up, which means remove about 6 million people from the 60 million Italians, bringing the total to 54 million. Also, since it is unlikely that all eligible people are actually vaccinated (we have people who they cannot receive the vaccine, people who they don’t want to get vaccinated, etc.), one is usually fixed conventional threshold which determines the dissemination objective of the campaign. This threshold could theoretically coincide with that of theherd immunity – which in turn depends on the specific pathogen – but in the case of Covid-19 for Italy it has been arbitrarily decided to fix this percentage to the80%.

It was therefore assumed, by hypothesis, that it will be difficult to intercept more than 4 out of 5 entitled persons with vaccination. And, in quantitative terms, the objective of the campaign is to reach just beyond 43 million people blankets. It goes without saying that if higher percentages were reached it would be an even more encouraging result, but in any case the 43 million are what – in the media and in institutions – we refer to when it comes to end of the campaign.

When we finish, looking at the doses

Two possible factors can act as a bottleneck for the conclusion of the vaccination campaign: availability of doses to be administered, and the rate of administration. Let’s go in order.

To date, Italy has received a total of just over 50 million doses, of which it has administered just over 47. If all people were vaccinated with a double dose, we would need 86 million doses overall, even if the nearly 2 million monodose Janssen administered they bring down the calculation a 84 million: 41 million with double dose and 2 million with single dose. At the appeal to end the campaign, therefore, 34 million doses are still missing.

Of these, second what was communicated yesterday by the commissioner structure led by General Francesco Figliuolo, 14.5 million of doses will arrive during the month of July, of which 12.1 from Pfizer and 2.4 from Moderna. These figures, which correspond to a decline of 0.8 million doses (5%) compared to the 15.3 million delivered in June, indicated that by early August we expect approximately 20 million doses to be missing when the campaign is completed. And this in a hypothesis slightly pessimistic, because it does not take into account Janssen administrations nor does it include who, after receiving a first dose of AstraZeneca, will opt to continue with homologous vaccination without switching to formulations a rna messenger.

Even if at the moment there is no reliable data for the months from August onwards, the general trend suggests that the goal in terms of delivered doses can be reached at some time. during September, perhaps even in the first part of the month. To this should be added the time lag that there has been since the beginning of the campaign between the delivery of the doses and the actual administration: a gap that today is in the order of 3 million doses, that is roughly a week.

When we finish, looking at the administrations

An evaluation with a totally different approach can instead be made on the basis of the rate of administration, assuming that the availability of doses is not a problem. A first rough estimate, based on the average data of the last month, is that you can inject a little more than 500 thousand doses of vaccine per day. Still to be administered are approximately 37 million doses (84 million target minus 47 already injected), which would correspond to 74 days of administration. Doing the count starting today, June 24th, we would arrive at first days of September, the 6 to be precise.

This estimate has an element of optimism and one of pessimism. The first is that there is no flexion due to the summer holidays, and therefore the pace is not affected by a slowdown even in the central weeks of August when most of our country will be on vacation. The one of pessimism, on the other hand, is that that general trend of acceleration which is continuing almost without exception from February to today in interruption. In mid-March the daily administrations were almost 200 thousand, in mid-April almost 300 thousand, in mid-May 480 thousand and in mid-June 550 thousand: if the trend continues, in mid-July we could be over 600 thousand anticipating the finish line between the end of August and the beginning of September.

Beyond the end of the campaign

All the evaluations proposed so far start from the hypothesis that 20% of the vaccinated audience that does not fall within the target you don’t participate at all to the vaccination campaign. If, on the other hand, there was – as to be hoped – a higher adhesion, then the objective would be achieved with a little delay, because we would have a higher percentage of 80% of first doses before reaching 80% of second doses.

Looking a little further in time, the possible scenarios become more uncertain. If, instead of reaching 80%, we were aiming for 90%, we would have to add about ten million administrations and then another 3 weeks approx. And what if you decide to proceed seamlessly with the third doses, at that point to act as a bottleneck would be neither the number of doses nor the speed of administration, but having to wait for the last vaccinated passes the appropriate amount of time between second and third dose.

Categories:   Science