New preprint: Estimating the distribution of COVID-19-susceptible, -recovered, and -vaccinated individuals in Germany up to April 2022
After having affected the population for two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has reached a phase where a considerable number of people in Germany have been either infected with a SARS-CoV-2 variant, vaccinated, or both. Yet the full extent to which the population has been in contact with either virus or vaccine remains elusive, particularly on a regional level, because (a) infection counts suffer from under-reporting, and (b) the overlap between the vaccinated and recovered subpopulations is unknown. Since previous infection, vaccination, or especially a combination of both reduce the risk of severe disease, a high share of individuals with SARS-CoV-2 immunity lowers the probability of severe outbreaks that could potentially overburden the public health system once again, given that emerging variants do not escape this reduction in susceptibility. Here, we estimate the share of immunologically naïve individuals by age group for each of the 16 German federal states by integrating an infectious disease model based on weekly incidences of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the national surveillance system and vaccine uptake, as well as assumptions regarding under-ascertainment. We estimate a median share of 7.0% of individuals in the German population have neither been in contact with vaccine nor any variant as of March 31, 2022 (quartile range [3.6%– 9.8%]). For the adult population at higher risk of severe disease, this figure is reduced to 3.5% [1.3%–5.5%] for ages 18–59 and 4.3% [2.7%–5.8%] for ages 60 and above. However, estimates vary between German states mostly due to heterogeneous vaccine uptake. Excluding Omicron infections from the analysis, 16.1% [14.0%–17.8%] of the population in Germany, across all ages, are estimated to be immunologically naïve, highlighting the large impact the Omicron wave had until the beginning of spring in 2022.
The preprint is available here: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.04.19.22274030v1.