Age-Stratified COVID-19 Spread Analysis and Vaccination: A Multitype Random Network Approach
The risk of severe illness and mortality from COVID-19 significantly increases with age. As a result, age-stratified modeling for COVID-19 dynamics is the key to study how to reduce hospitalizations and mortality from COVID-19. By taking advantage of network theory, we develop an age-stratified epidemic model for COVID-19 in complex contact networks. Specifically, we present an extension of standard SEIR (susceptible-exposed-infectious-removed) compartmental model, called age-stratified SEAHIR (susceptible-exposed-asymptomatic-hospitalized-infectious-removed) model, to capture the spread of COVID-19 over multitype random networks with general degree distributions. We derive several key epidemiological metrics and then propose an age-stratified vaccination strategy to decrease the mortality and hospitalizations. Through extensive study, we discover that the outcome of vaccination prioritization depends on the reproduction number R 0 . Specifically, the elderly should be prioritized only when R 0 is relatively high. If ongoing intervention policies, such as universal masking, could suppress R 0 at a relatively low level, prioritizing the high-transmission age group (i.e., adults aged 20-39) is most effective to reduce both mortality and hospitalizations. These conclusions provide useful recommendations for age-based vaccination prioritization for COVID-19.