Improving COVID-19 vaccination centre operation through computer modelling and simulation

Richard Wood, Simon Moss, Ben Murch, Christopher Davies, Christos Vasilakis

Research output: Working paper / PreprintPreprint


Mass vaccination is widely considered to offer the only route out of the COVID-19 pandemic in a way that social restrictions can be eased and economic activity can safely resume without compromising healthcare services. For many countries, dedicated vaccination centres are a key part of that effort. However, with no directly comparable historical experience there is little information to guide the operational configuration and management of these sites. In addressing this gap in knowledge, the objective of this study is to demonstrate the value of computer modelling. This is achieved through providing an account of its use in supporting management considerations and decisions at two major vaccination centres, at an early stage of the UK’s mass vaccination effort. We report on how modelling insight has influenced the initial setup of one site, including quantification of daily booking numbers. For the same site, we reveal how analysis has informed a significant operational shift in combining two key activities on the vaccination pathway into one. Finally, we describe how, at a second site, modelling has been used to examine pathway stability, in terms of resilience to unforeseen ‘shocks’ such as delayed arrivals and staff unavailability. Alongside the open-source simulation software, the modelling insights reported here can support managers to better plan and improve the operation of COVID-19 vaccination centres.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2021


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