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Math Biosci. 2008 Oct;215(2):144-51. doi: 10.1016/j.mbs.2008.07.006. Epub 2008 Jul 24.

Finding optimal vaccination strategies under parameter uncertainty using stochastic programming.

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Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Texas A&M University, 241 Zachry, 3131 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-3131, USA.


We present a stochastic programming framework for finding the optimal vaccination policy for controlling infectious disease epidemics under parameter uncertainty. Stochastic programming is a popular framework for including the effects of parameter uncertainty in a mathematical optimization model. The problem is initially formulated to find the minimum cost vaccination policy under a chance-constraint. The chance-constraint requires that the probability that R(*) <or= 1 be greater than some parameter alpha, where R(*) is the post-vaccination reproduction number. We also show how to formulate the problem in two additional cases: (a) finding the optimal vaccination policy when vaccine supply is limited and (b) a cost-benefit scenario. The class of epidemic models for which this method can be used is described and we present an example formulation for which the resulting problem is a mixed-integer program. A short numerical example based on plausible parameter values and distributions is given to illustrate how including parameter uncertainty improves the robustness of the optimal strategy at the cost of higher coverage of the population. Results derived from a stochastic programming analysis can also help to guide decisions about how much effort and resources to focus on collecting data needed to provide better estimates of key parameters.

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