This was part of Predictive Analytics, Business Modeling and Optimization in Healthcare Operations Management

Mass Vaccination Scheduling: Trading off Infections, Throughput, and Overtime

Steven Shechter, University of British Columbia

Wednesday, May 3, 2023


Mass vaccination is essential for pandemic control, but long queues can increase infection risk. We study how to schedule arrivals at a mass vaccination site to minimize a tri-objective function of a) expected number of infections acquired while waiting, b) throughput, and c) overtime. Leveraging multi-modularity results of a related optimization problem, we construct a solution algorithm and compare our results to an equally-distributed, equally-spaced schedule. While we find that the latter sits near the pareto-optimal frontier, it is located away from a sharp elbow in the tradeoff between infections and overtime. Specifically, the elbow-policy achieves approximately 55% fewer expected infections for nearly the same expected overtime.  We also discuss managerial insights around the structure of the optimal schedule and compare it to the well-known dome-shaped policies found in other appointment scheduling contexts.