Assessing COVID-19 vaccination strategies in varied demographics using an individual-based model

Noam Ben-Zuk, Yair Daon, Amit Sasson, Dror Ben-Adi, Amit Huppert, Daniel Nevo, Uri Obolski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: New variants of SARS-CoV-2 are constantly discovered. Administration of COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses, combined with the application of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), is often used to prevent outbreaks of emerging variants. Such outbreak dynamics are further complicated by the population's behavior and demographic composition. Hence, realistic simulations are needed to estimate the efficiency of proposed vaccination strategies in conjunction with NPIs. Methods: We developed an individual-based model of COVID-19 dynamics that considers age-dependent parameters such as contact matrices, probabilities of symptomatic and severe disease, and households' age distribution. As a case study, we simulate outbreak dynamics under the demographic compositions of two Israeli cities with different household sizes and age distributions. We compare two vaccination strategies: vaccinate individuals in a currently prioritized age group, or dynamically prioritize neighborhoods with a high estimated reproductive number. Total infections and hospitalizations are used to compare the efficiency of the vaccination strategies under the two demographic structures, in conjunction with different NPIs. Results: We demonstrate the effectiveness of vaccination strategies targeting highly infected localities and of NPIs actively detecting asymptomatic infections. We further show that different optimal vaccination strategies exist for each sub-population's demographic composition and that their application is superior to a uniformly applied strategy. Conclusion: Our study emphasizes the importance of tailoring vaccination strategies to subpopulations' infection rates and to the unique characteristics of their demographics (e.g., household size and age distributions). The presented simulation framework and findings can help better design future responses against the following emerging variants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number966756
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2022


  • COVID- 19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • agent-based model (ABM)
  • individual-base model
  • non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs)
  • vaccination strategies


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