Expanding vaccine efficacy estimation with dynamic models fitted to cross-sectional prevalence data post-licensure

Erida Gjini*, M. Gabriela M. Gomes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


The efficacy of vaccines is typically estimated prior to implementation, on the basis of randomized controlled trials. This does not preclude, however, subsequent assessment post-licensure, while mass-immunization and nonlinear transmission feedbacks are in place. In this paper we show how cross-sectional prevalence data post-vaccination can be interpreted in terms of pathogen transmission processes and vaccine parameters, using a dynamic epidemiological model. We advocate the use of such frameworks for model-based vaccine evaluation in the field, fitting trajectories of cross-sectional prevalence of pathogen strains before and after intervention. Using SI and SIS models, we illustrate how prevalence ratios in vaccinated and non-vaccinated hosts depend on true vaccine efficacy, the absolute and relative strength of competition between target and non-target strains, the time post follow-up, and transmission intensity. We argue that a mechanistic approach should be added to vaccine efficacy estimation against multi-type pathogens, because it naturally accounts for inter-strain competition and indirect effects, leading to a robust measure of individual protection per contact. Our study calls for systematic attention to epidemiological feedbacks when interpreting population level impact. At a broader level, our parameter estimation procedure provides a promising proof of principle for a generalizable framework to infer vaccine efficacy post-licensure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-82
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • co-infection
  • competition
  • ODE parameter inference
  • strain replacement
  • vaccination model


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