Researchers develop an “risk calculator” to help determine who should get the Covid vaccine first

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on December 13, 2020

As countries across the globe shift focus on Covid-19 vaccine deployment, researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have developed a new online “Covid-19 mortality risk” calculator to help prioritise certain groups for vaccination.

“The researchers who developed the calculator expect it to be useful to public health authorities for assessing mortality risks in different communities, and for prioritising certain groups for vaccination as Covid-19 vaccines become available,” as per an official release.

The calculator is currently used for estimating Covid-19 mortality risks in individuals across the United States. The calculator is based on an algorithm that leverages information from existing large studies to estimate the mortality risk of Covid-19 for individuals based on age, gender, sociodemographic factors and different health conditions.

“Our calculator represents a more quantitative approach and should complement other proposed qualitative guidelines, such as those by the National Academy of Sciences and Medicine, for determining individual and community risks and allocating vaccines,” said study senior author Nilanjan Chatterjee, PhD, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in the departments of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School.

The study detailing the risk calculator is presented in a paper published in the journal Nature Medicine.

The researchers also developed an interactive map to show numbers and the proportion of individuals at various levels of risks across cities, counties and States within the United States in collaboration with PolicyMap Inc.

“People may understand broadly that with a pre-existing condition such as obesity or diabetes, for example, they are at higher risk, but with our calculator, they should be able to understand their risk in a way that takes multiple factors into account,” Chatterjee said.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this week granted emergency-use authorisation (EUA) to American drug-maker Pfizer and its German collaborator BioNTech for their Covid-19 vaccine.

Earlier this month, the UK also granted a temporary authorisation for emergency use for the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 mRNA vaccine (BNT162b2), against Covid-19. Other countries such as Bahrain, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Mexico have approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as per previous reports.

Published on December 13, 2020

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