Drive-Through Mass-Vaccination Clinics Could Alter COVID-19 Trajectory

New research based on data from the H1N1 Pandemic was used to model a pathway to achieve faster vaccination and stem COVID-19 crisis.

Policymakers at all levels of government have been racing to vaccinate hundreds of millions of people to save lives and blunt the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent study published in the INFORMS Journal on Applied Analytics, it provides a simulated model for drive-through clinics that can be used for mass COVID-19 vaccinations based on the successful use of such a clinic to address H1N1.

The paper, “Lessons from Modeling and Running the World′s Largest Drive-Through, Mass Vaccination Clinic,” looks at data from The Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness department during the H1N1 vaccinations.

The authors Sunderesh Heragu of Oklahoma State University and Thomas van de Kracht of Vanderlande Industries note a total of 19,318 residents were vaccinated by a drive-through and a walk-up clinic over 1.5 days – nearly two-thirds of whom specifically used the drive-through clinic.

In addition to people preferring the convenience of drive-through clinics because waiting times in walk-up clinics are shorter, they also believe drive-through clinics are safer and less contagious, according to the study.

Another key finding from the study was that you can vaccinate a large number of people without a lot of waiting and confusion using a drive-through clinic.

"As policymakers address how to bolster mass vaccinations for COVID-19, drive-through vaccination sites offer a means to inoculate people faster and with less waiting and confusion as compared to other mass vaccination approaches,” said Heragu, a Regents professor and head of the School of Industrial Engineering and Management at OSU. "This could readily be done in literally every single community, transforming the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic once and for all.”