Jacobson, who published his research in the Journal of Industrial and Management Optimization, considered the relative mortality and morbidity of diseases to determine what levels stockpiles should be set at to minimize the risk of shortage and maximize coverage opportunities while minimizing costs.
"We took all of these factors into account and created a multi-attribute model using utility theory to solve for appropriate levels."
Jacobson said that when actual vaccine shortages have occurred over the last 10 years, the duration of the shortages were between 16 and 18 months.
"Even though we're preparing for six months out, we never see six months," he said. "The shortest time period in the last 10 years has been a 7-month period. That's a byproduct of one-size-fits-all policy for stockpiles. Although it's easy and simple to do, it's not the most efficient policy. We need to re-engineer the objectives of our pediatric vaccine stockpiles and establish more flexible policies for maximizing their utility."
Jacobson's research proposes a stochastic model to determine the stockpile levels that minimize the risk of a vaccine shortage during a supply interruption while also maintaining a given coverage rate.
"For some vaccines, you need very little stockpiles; for others, you need much larger ones," he said.
Pertussis, or whooping cough, as it's more commonly known, can be a "very deadly, virulent disease if it spreads, while mumps, on the other hand, rarely causes death," Jacobson said.
"When we're talking about vaccines, equal is not effective. The recent pertussis outbreaks in California and Ohio highlight the needs for differentiated stockpile levels, meaning we have to look at the characteristics of the diseases in terms of achieving herd immunity as well as how deadly the disease is."
Jacobson, who also is a professor of pediatrics at the College of Medicin
|Contact: Phil Ciciora|
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign