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Danish Center for Welfare Studies

A game theoretic approach identifies conditions that foster vaccine-rich to vaccine-poor country donation of surplus vaccines.

Authors : Lampert, A., Sulitzeanu-Kenan, R., Vanhuysse, P, Tepe, M.
ublished: Communications Medicine 2, 107 (2022).

In an unequal world with open economies, pandemics do not stop at national borders. Higher-income countries may then benefit from helping lower-income countries. In particular, since new variants of a virus may emerge in vaccine-poor countries, vaccine-rich countries may have a strong incentive to donate their surplus vaccine doses rather than stocking these domestically. But under which conditions will such self-interested donations occur? We develop a game-theoretic model, used to analyze the strategies of rational decision makers and how they depend on strategies of other decision-makers. We show that, if vaccine-rich countries can vaccinate a large share of the vaccine-poor world, it is optimal for them to donate their surplus vaccines. In certain circumstances, such donations are also a stable solution. These findings may inform health policy on ways of improving the effectiveness of coordinated international vaccine donations.

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