Mathematical modelling to support New Zealand’s Covid-19 response

In this talk, I will describe some of the ways in which mathematical modelling contributed to the Covid-19 pandemic response in New Zealand. New Zealand adopted an elimination strategy at the beginning of the pandemic and used a combination of public health measures and border restrictions to keep incidence of Covid-19 low until high vaccination rates were achieved. The low or zero prevalence for first 18 months of the pandemic called for a different set of modelling tools compared to high-prevalence settings. It also generated some unique data that can give valuable insights into epidemiological characteristics and dynamics. As well as describing some of the modelling approaches used, I will reflect on the value modelling can add to decision making and some of the challenges and opportunities in working with stakeholders in government and public health.