Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is causing morbidity, mortality and economic damage in an unprecedented manner across the world. Many non-pharmacological interventions such as restricting community mobility, social distancing, handwashing and face mask use have been carried out to prevent COVID-19. Promising vaccine results and their approval for emergency use in some countries has created much interest in their use as the ultimate solution to control the outbreak at global level, Sri Lanka being no exception. Objective of this study was to compare the success of a COVID-19 vaccination with or without social distancing during a simulated outbreak of widespread transmission of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka. The beta version of the online application of the mathematical model developed by the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene using the Susceptible, Exposed, Infected and Removed Model was used for the simulation. The results show that COVID-19 vaccination in Sri Lanka without social distancing is unlikely to reduce case number, symptomatic admissions or deaths. In the absence of social distancing, making vaccines available earlier, faster or in increased quantities will not contribute to any meaningful reduction of the disease outcomes. The continued adherence to social distancing is recommended for any benefits of vaccination to be meaningful.
Will COVID-19 Vaccination Be Successful Without Social Distancing? A Simulation of an Outbreak in Sri Lanka