Dr Alexandra Hogan is an Imperial College Research Fellow who is looking to tackle how humanity will ‘live with COVID-19’. She was recently awarded a National Health and Medical Research Council Emerging Leadership Fellowship and her work from grant will be based at the UNSW School of Population Health.

Dr Hogan says while safe and efficacious COVID-19 vaccinations enable a gradual return of society to ‘normal’, the virus is expected to become globally endemic. “This means we will need ongoing protection via vaccines to allow us to ‘live with COVID’,” she said.

Dr Hogan’s NHMRC grant will be used to develop flexible and adaptable modelling that can be updated as the pandemic evolves, as new policy questions emerge. These models will help predict and plan for the most effective and efficient COVID-19 immunisation strategies for Australia and the broader region.

“My research will help inform longer term planning of ongoing COVID-19 vaccination programs. This is important to everyone in society—to help mitigate the health, social, and economic impacts of COVID-19,” said Dr Hogan.

Dr Hogan will estimate the impact of new vaccines using mathematics and computer models to simulate SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission. She says the modelling can consider a wide range of different factors that affect how the virus is transmitted and who is most at risk.

“The landscape of COVID-19 is changing rapidly,” Dr Hogan said. “But we can look at population structure, contact patterns between people, priority and at-risk population groups and health care system capacity to guide the most effective and equitable responses.”

Mathematical modelling has already had a demonstrable global impact on guiding the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, within individual countries and internationally. 

Dr Hogan’s current work within the COVID-19 Response Team at Imperial College London is based on models that show vaccine strategies targeting the elderly or most at-risk are the most effective. This work formed part of the World Health Organization policy evidence on COVID-19 vaccine prioritisation.

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Hear from Dr Hogan as she discusses how she will use modelling to understand the impact of COVID-19 vaccination and inform policy decisions as part of her National Health and Medical Research Council Investigator Grant – watch here

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