Engineers Respond to COVID-19

Jeffrey Herrmann

Jeffrey Herrmann

Professor Jeffrey Herrmann, who holds a joint appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Institute for Systems Research, has developed free software tools and other resources to help public health officials model and design emergency health clinics.

What part of the pandemic does your research addresses?

Our research addresses the distribution of a forthcoming vaccine to halt the pandemic.

Why is this kind of research needed?

When a vaccine becomes available, the logistics of vaccinating the public will be a complicated problem; poor decisions will lead to poor utilization of resources, including the doses of the vaccine and the nurses who will give the vaccinations, and delays in vaccinations, which increases the number of deaths and the number of people who become ill while waiting for the vaccine.

Could you describe what your work entails?

This research has developed mathematical models that will be useful for making critical decisions about who should receive vaccinations and how to design, setup, and operate mass vaccination clinics.

What are your future plans for this research?

I plan to work with public health researchers and public health officials to update the models as appropriate when we have information about the vaccine and how it is administered. We'll then use the models to help public health officials make good decisions about how many vaccination clinics to setup, how many staff are needed at each clinic, and how to layout the clinics. This will help them understand the resources required and how long it will take to vaccinate everyone.