The model was utilised in various forecasts including the impact of relatively low to reasonably high transfer of the virus between people and the impact this would have on the healthcare system. From this data, regional counties were able to see what the potential implications were and what plans they needed to put into place should vaccine shipments be impacted. The data was also compiled to support a nationwide response.
“What we wanted to do was visualise three possible outcomes so the counties could easily see what the potential future could look like. We were, for instance, able to project that full vaccination rollout may not be achieved until winter 2022, which was vital information when new variants such as Delta were becoming dominant.”
The 4C model has been continuously updated based on the number of vaccines administered and other key related factors to provide valuable data throughout the pandemic. Following the 2021 Christmas break, when Omicron became a major concern, the model was once again applied to analyse the impact that vaccine delays would have on the double jab rate of the population (over 12s). The scenarios simulated were:
- vaccination administration at the current rate
- a 20% delay in vaccination administration
- a 50% delay in vaccination administration
From this information, it could be seen that the population would be fully double jabbed by the beginning of May (week 18), end of May (week 21), or end of July (week 30) respectively. The third scenario was a serious concern as the midsummer celebratory holiday is in June – a time when people typically socialise with family and friends. This data was then compared against the rate of hospital admissions and ICU patients to forecast the potential impact of any delays on the health authorities.
“Based on this information, it was apparent that the government had to keep vaccinating at the same rate even though they didn’t have full control over supply levels. Managing what they had control over was essential for the health of the nation. If delivery delays or shortages were to occur, they could be dealt when it was a real concern.” points out Klas.
The model was also used to forecast vaccine requirements for the booster programme, while drawing a comparison between the Swedish rates and other countries. At the time, different countries were following very different vaccination protocols for booster administration. Sweden was sticking to six-month intervals between dose two and a booster while many other countries had reduced the timeline. It was found that though currently on a par with EU countries, Sweden would soon fall behind in terms of the percentage of people with the booster. The interval between doses two and three was eventually lowered.
An important crisis management tool
“Forecasting analysis is not an exact science but it’s an important tool when assessing a situation and the possible outcomes in a crisis. Being able to visualise different scenarios makes it much easier for stakeholders to quickly understand the potential outcomes, share the information and make decisions that matter, quickly,” continues Klas.
“Our model can be used for very different crises, here we applied it to the pandemic, but it would have worked equally well, for example, when looking at the impacts to manufacturing and shipping during the Suez Canal obstruction,” he concludes.
The forecasting analysis model is one of a number of methodologies and models in the 4C incident and crisis management toolbox. Others include the Facts and Assumption Model, the Capability and Maturity Model and 4C Training Programmes and Exercises. Another key tool is the 4C Exonaut Resilience Software Platform which is listed in the Gartner 2020 Market Guide for Crisis / Emergency Management solutions.