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Original article Effective vaccination strategies to control COVID-19 in Korea: a modeling study
Youngsuk Ko1orcid , Kyong Ran Peck2orcid , Yae-Jean Kim3orcid , Dong-Hyun Kim4orcid , Eunok Jung1orcid
Epidemiol Health 2023;e2023084
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2023084 [Accepted]
Published online: September 7, 2023
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1Department of Mathematics, Konkuk University, Seoul, Korea
2Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
3Department of Pediatrics, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicin, Seoul, Korea
4Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Hallym University College of Medicine, Chuncheon, Korea
Corresponding author:  Eunok Jung,
Email: junge@konkuk.ac.kr
Received: 19 June 2023   • Revised: 26 July 2023   • Accepted: 7 August 2023

In Korea, as immunity levels of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the population acquired through previous infections and vaccinations have decreased, booster vaccinations have emerged as a necessary measure to control new outbreaks. The objective of this study was to identify the most suitable vaccination strategy for controlling the surge in COVID-19 cases.
A mathematical model was developed to concurrently evaluate the immunity levels induced by vaccines and infections. This model was then employed to investigate the potential for future resurgence and the possibility of control through the use of vaccines and antivirals.
As of May 11, 2023, if the current epidemic trend persists without further vaccination efforts, a peak in resurgence is anticipated to occur around mid-October of the same year. Under the most favorable circumstances, the peak number of severely hospitalized patients could be reduced by 43% (480) compared to the scenario without vaccine intervention (849). Depending on outbreak trends and vaccination strategies, the best timing for vaccination in terms of minimizing this peak varies from May to August 2023.
Our findings suggest that if the epidemic persist, the best timing for administering vaccinations would need to be earlier than currently outlined in the Korean plan. It is imperative to continue monitoring outbreak trends, as this is key to determining the best vaccination timing in order to manage potential future surges.

Epidemiol Health : Epidemiology and Health