Population-level implications of the Israeli booster campaign to curtail COVID-19 resurgence

Nir Gavish*, Rami Yaari, Amit Huppert, Guy Katriel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Israel was one of the first countries to administer mass vaccination against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Consequently, it was among the first countries to experience substantial breakthrough infections due to the waning of vaccine-induced immunity, which led to a resurgence of the epidemic. In response, Israel launched a booster campaign to mitigate the outbreak and was the first country to do so. Israel's success in curtailing the Delta resurgence while imposing only mild nonpharmaceutical interventions influenced the decision of many countries to initiate a booster campaign. By constructing a detailed mathematical model and calibrating it to the Israeli data, we extend the understanding of the impact of the booster campaign from the individual to the population level. We used the calibrated model to explore counterfactual scenarios in which the booster vaccination campaign is altered by changing the eligibility criteria or the start time of the campaign and to assess the direct and indirect effects in the different scenarios. The results point to the vast benefits of vaccinating younger age groups that are not at a high risk of developing severe disease but play an important role in transmission. We further show that, when the epidemic is exponentially growing, the success of the booster campaign is highly sensitive to the timing of its initiation. Hence, a rapid response is an important factor in reducing disease burden using booster vaccination.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabn9836
JournalScience Translational Medicine
Issue number647
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation3730/20


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