Public Policy in a Pandemic: A Hazard-Control Perspective and a Case Study of the BCG Vaccine for COVID-19


The first cases of COVID-19 were reported in China in Dec, 2019, quickly spreading to other parts of the world leading to a global pandemic. A number of potential interventions and treatments are being considered. Also in the midst of a pandemic, much early reporting can contain misleading and contradictory data. Thus, reliable information and reasoned perspectives by decision-makers must be attained to minimize the pandemic's current impact, as well as the impact in the likely second wave in the flu season of 2020-2021. One potential treatment is the use of booster doses of the BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guerin) vaccine; this vaccine is mandatory at birth in many lower-income nations. In this paper, using widely available and reliable data, the relationship of per-capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and the BCG vaccine's use on the impact of the virus is studied via statistical models. A strong association is seen between lower per-capita GDP and lower impact. Further, a lower impact is witnessed in countries where the BCG vaccine is mandatory at birth, which suggests that clinical trials need to occur to determine the vaccine's efficacy. Perspectives in safety and risk mitigation needed for management of pandemics and similar events are also provided.


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Intelligent Systems Center

Keywords and Phrases

Pandemics; Healthcare; Strategic Management; Safety; Risk Management; BCG Vaccine; Interventions

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2020 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Sep 2020