Controlling the pandemic during the SARS-CoV-2 vaccination rollout

João Viana, Christiaan H. van Dorp, Ana Nunes, Manuel C. Gomes, Michiel van Boven, Mirjam E. Kretzschmar, Marc Veldhoen, Ganna Rozhnova*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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There is a consensus that mass vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 will ultimately end the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is not clear when and which control measures can be relaxed during the rollout of vaccination programmes. We investigate relaxation scenarios using an age-structured transmission model that has been fitted to age-specific seroprevalence data, hospital admissions, and projected vaccination coverage for Portugal. Our analyses suggest that the pressing need to restart socioeconomic activities could lead to new pandemic waves, and that substantial control efforts prove necessary throughout 2021. Using knowledge on control measures introduced in 2020, we anticipate that relaxing measures completely or to the extent as in autumn 2020 could launch a wave starting in April 2021. Additional waves could be prevented altogether if measures are relaxed as in summer 2020 or in a step-wise manner throughout 2021. We discuss at which point the control of COVID-19 would be achieved for each scenario.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3674
Pages (from-to)1-15
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2021


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Basic Reproduction Number
  • COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use
  • COVID-19/prevention & control
  • Calibration
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communicable Disease Control/methods
  • Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Mass Vaccination/organization & administration
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Portugal/epidemiology
  • Vaccination Coverage
  • Young Adult


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