Working Paper

Vaccination strategies and transmission of COVID-19: evidence across leading countries


Dongwoo Kim, Young Jun Lee

Published Date

20 October 2021


Working Paper (CWP38/21)

Vaccination has been perceived as a key to reaching “herd immunity” in the current COVID-19 pandemic. This paper examines effectiveness of different vaccination strategies. We investigate the effects of two key elements in mass vaccination, which are allocations and timing of first and second doses and types of vaccines, on the spread of COVID-19. Amid limited supply of approved vaccines and constrained medical resources, the choice of a vaccination strategy is fundamentally an economic problem. We employ standard time-series and panel data models commonly used in economic research with real world data to estimate the effects of progress in vaccination and types of vaccines on health outcomes. Potential confounders such as government responses and people’s behavioral changes are also taken into account. Our findings suggest that the share of people vaccinated with at least one dose is significantly negatively associated with new infections and deaths. Conditioning on first dose progress, full vaccination offers no further reductions in new cases and deaths. For vaccines from China, however, we find weaker effects of vaccination progress on health outcomes. Our results support the extending interval between first and second dose policy adopted by Canada and the UK among others for mRNA-based vaccines. As vaccination progressed, people’s mobility increased and it offset the direct effects of vaccination. Therefore, public health measures are still important to contain the transmission by refraining people from being more mobile after vaccinated.