Message for Dan: Please optimise your vaccine settings

I’ve got a few quick thoughts on Victorian vaccine targets because I would love to get out of lockdown a few weeks early, and I think we have the wrong vaccine policy settings to do that. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. We are only talking a few weeks either way, but the policy changes are simple. And two weeks will make a big difference to the mental health of many!  

Our goal is to get to 80% of the eligible population with two shots as fast as possible. But Pfizer supplies are falling 20% in October:

In NSW, total supply was projected to fall from 4.6m in September to 4.3m in October, due to a reduction in Pfizer from 3.4m to 2.7m. In Victoria, total supply falls from 3.5m to 3.3m due to a fall in Pfizer from 2.7m to 2.2m.

Pfizer supplies were projected to decrease in all states and territories from September to October:

  • In Queensland, from 2.15m to 1.68m

  • In Western Australia, from 1.14m to 859,000

  • In South Australia from 774,000 to 544,000

  • In Tasmania from 287,000 to 201,000

  • In the Australia Capital Territory from 218,000 to 156,000; and

  • In the Northern Territory from 154,000 to 100,000

The rough numbers

  • Victoria has built up from 70,000 to 80,000 shots per day over September. 
  • About 10,000 shots a day are going to 12-15 year olds.
  • About 50,000 shots are first doses.
  • About 20,000 shots are second doses.
  • Victoria currently has six weeks between Pfizer shots.
  • I’m guessing that Moderna will be around 20-25k shots per day in October.
  • Victoria should have 80% of the eligible population having received the first dose by the end of September.  
  • At the end of September, Victoria will need roughly: 1.2m people to have a second dose to hit the 70% target, 1.7m to hit 80%.  
  • I’m guessing Victoria will have about 8% anti-vaxxers

As you can see, a gap is opening up between the number of people likely to get a dose and the number of doses available.

Victoria Vaccine forecasts


Issue 1. Moderna doesn’t really help to hit the targets

The Victorian target is to get 1.7m (16y+) to have a second shot. The advice is not to mix shots. So having more Moderna doesn’t help these people.

What hinders people from getting their second shot is other people getting their first shot using up limited Pfizer supplies. 

Recommendation 1: Switch as many people getting the first shot to Moderna or Astrazenica as soon as possible. Particularly 12-15 year olds. We need to use the limited Pfizer to get people their second shot faster.

Issue 2. Six weeks between Pfizer shots

In August, Victoria changed to make it six weeks between shots rather than three to get the first dose sooner to as many people as possible. This was the right move at the time. Now it isn’t.

The problem is that someone who had a shot today turns around and books their second shot in six weeks. So, by definition, if we reach 80% with a first dose in the next few days, the best possible result would be to get to 80% second dose six weeks later. i.e. Mid November.

And the numbers are “back-ended”. Today, only about 50k of the 1.7m are eligible to have a second dose. Change that to three weeks and 650k people will be eligible to have a second dose. Don’t wait. It needs to changed now. And people who have booked need to be encouraged to change to an earlier date. 

Recommendation 2: Immediately change the minimum period to three weeks.

Recommendation 3: Message everyone who has booked a second shot and encourage them to book an earlier shot. 

End result

Make these changes, and we should be out two or three weeks earlier, using up as many vaccines as possible in the shortest time:

Victorian Vaccination forecasts

Victorian Vaccination forecasts

We are working with an optimisation problem. Please Dan make some changes and let us out early!