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Mapping Populations for Vaccine Equity
July 15, 2021
At the current funding levels, the COVAX facility is only able to meet 20% of the vaccine doses needed across participating countries. This finite resource requires precisely executed national vaccination plans targeting two goals: (1) curbing transmission and (2) reaching the most vulnerable. Specifically, these funded doses need to be distributed quickly to those who are most vulnerable and will never have the ability to pay for their doses independently.
At Fraym, we are supporting multilateral and government partners in designing and deploying spatially precise equitable vaccine allocation models in six (6) countries to prioritize previously marginalized groups who remain vulnerable to COVID-19 transmission and deaths.
In partnership with Palladium, Fraym designed an equitable vaccine allocation model for Guatemala that takes into account multiple priorities and dimensions of need. In consultation with local partners supporting vaccine deployment in vaccine deployment, Fraym leveraged its database of hyperlocal population characteristics to quantify and locate those most in need of the vaccine based on their age and socioeconomic factors such as previous engagement with the health system. The resulting framework, model, and dataset was then aligned with the Guatemalan national vaccination plan and mapped sub-nationally.
Palladium then modeled the impact of vaccine distribution using two methods: (1) prioritizing the elderly population, in line with the national plan; and (2) prioritizing regions with both elderly and vulnerable populations using VaxImpact – an epidemiological model that estimates the health and mortality impacts of vaccine allocations to population subgroups and geographic areas. The results identified no substantial differences in the reduction in COVID-19 deaths between the two approaches, which is not surprising given the widespread reach of COVID-19 and increased risk of severe illness in older age groups. These findings also point to a critical factor – any COVID-19 vaccine dose to priority age groups has a tremendous impact on lives saved.
Models and approaches like Fraym’s serve multiple purposes, including:
(1) Identifying the most in need by priority group sub-nationally for vaccine allocation
(2) Generating 1 sq km hyperlocal maps locating high concentrations of each priority group
(3) Producing critical data for health system micro planning and vaccine distribution
(4) Generating essential population insights for longer term program design.
Fraym’s partnership with Palladium provided the opportunity to design, test, and generate key insights into the operationalization of geospatial data in vaccine planning, allocation, and distribution within Guatemala. This collaboration has strengthened our ability to turn data into action and advocate for equitable vaccine allocation locally and globally. With only 20% of doses guaranteed by COVAX this year, there will certainly be a need for supplemental vaccines that may come with a hefty price tag. To ensure equitable access to lifesaving drugs, our data makes a strong case that no-cost vaccines should be distributed to the priority groups who can very likely not afford a vaccine on their own.
Click here for more on Palladium’s VaxImpact Model
Click here for more on Fraym’s Equitable Vaccine Allocation Model