Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccine Prioritization in Low- and Middle-Income Countries May Justifiably Depart From High-Income Countries’ Age Priorities

Nir Eyal, Anca Gheaus, Axel Gosseries, Monica Magalhaes, Thierry Ngosso, Bastian Steuwer, Viroj Tangcharoensathien, Isa Trifan, Andrew Williams

Publication Date: 05/24/2022


In high-income countries that were first to roll out coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines, older adults have thus far usually been prioritized for these vaccines over younger adults. Age-based priority primarily resulted from interpreting evidence available at the time, which indicated that vaccinating the elderly first would minimize COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations. The World Health Organization counsels a similar approach for all countries. This paper argues that some low- and middle-income countries that are short of COVID-19 vaccine doses might be justified in revising this approach and instead prioritizing certain younger persons when allocating current vaccines or future variant-specific vaccines.