Stakeholder Question Committee’s Response
How can I interpret what the scores from SMART Vaccines mean?

Each user’s particular set of values and weights helps define the scale for the final priority score, so users cannot compare scores from one user to another unless they use the same attributes and endpoints. This is a standard feature of multi-attribute utility models.

Some users have found it useful to think about the priority scores in the same way that we think about reports of temperature. In a Fahrenheit scale the difference between 50°F and 70°F (20 degrees) has the same meaning as the difference between 20°F and 40°F. However, in the Fahrenheit scale 40°F is not twice as hot as 20°F. Similarly, on a Celsius scale the difference between 20°C and 30°C (10 degrees) has the same meaning as the difference between 10°C and 20°C, but 20°C is not twice as hot as 10°C. Furthermore, 20°C and 20°F do not have the same meaning. These differences do not make thermometers useless, but they do require an “anchor” to interpret them. With thermometers, we can use standard reference points to help understand what 20°F and 20°C mean. We know that water freezes at 0°C and boils at 100°C, and similarly that water freezes at 32°F and boils at 212°F. Knowing these two pairs of values allows us to make direct comparisons between Fahrenheit and Celsius values, and we can calculate that they have the same meaning at only one temperature—that is, minus 40°C has the same value as minus 40°F.

Who is expected to use SMART Vaccines and why? Potential users of SMART Vaccines (individually or collaboratively) include decision makers in a wide range of constituencies: federal and private research groups, funders, vaccine manufacturers, purchasers of vaccines, regulators, and nongovernmental groups. SMART Vaccines offers a new framework that could help provide a new standard for decision making among various stakeholders in many circumstances such as decision making under opacity; prioritizing under constrained resources, complexities associated with globalization, economies, and health. Furthermore, changing realities need decision models to be refreshed, which is what this tool offers—a dynamic, living decision-support framework that can be updated as new data, diseases and potential vaccine candidates emerge.

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