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Economic Brief

May 20, 2021

Richmond Fed Research Examines Optimal Vaccination Strategies

When rolling out vaccines to combat a pandemic, focusing first on those with intermediate vulnerability provides the greatest returns to society, according to the Richmond Fed’s latest Economic Brief.

Joshua Weiss of the Richmond Fed and Nikhil Vellodi of the Paris School of Economics created a model that accounted for people’s vulnerability and exposure. People with intermediate vulnerability interacted with society more than was socially optimal, so focusing vaccines on that group was more effective at slowing disease spread than focusing solely on those with high vulnerability.

The Richmond Fed’s Economic Brief series provides essays on economic issues and trends. Sign up to receive an email notification when a new essay is posted.


As part of our nation’s central bank, the Richmond Fed is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks working together with the Board of Governors to support a healthy economy and deliver on our mission to foster economic stability and strength. We connect with community and business leaders across the Fifth Federal Reserve District — including the Carolinas, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and most of West Virginia — to monitor economic conditions, address issues facing our communities, and share this information with monetary and financial policymakers. We also work with banks to ensure they are operating safely and soundly, supply financial institutions with currency that’s fit for distribution, and provide a safe and efficient way to transfer funds through our nation’s payments system.

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