The experience of Israel with the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine
This seminar will provide an overview of Israel’s experience with the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccination was first introduced in Israel on December 19, 2020, using the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine (Pfizer/BioNTech) in a rigorous nationwide campaign that resulted in high vaccine uptake. The existing databases of electronic medical records and newly established ones enabled rapid real-world assessments of the COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness of the primary vaccine series shortly after the vaccine’s introduction, and the documentation of waning immunity a few months afterward. Israel was the first country to introduce the first booster dose (third dose) of the BNT162b2 vaccine in July 2021 to address the issue of waning immunity and control the surge caused by the Delta variant of concern. In December 2021, a second booster dose (fourth dose) of the BNT162b2 was recommended to all individuals aged 60 or older to provide cross-protection against the Omicron variant and prevent severe illness and deaths. The bivalent COVID-19 vaccine was recently introduced as a booster dose in Israel.
Khitam Muhsen (PhD)
Khitam Muhsen completed a PhD in epidemiology and preventive medicine (2006-2011) at Tel Aviv University, and a post-doctoral fellowship (2011-2013) at the Center for Vaccine Development, University of Maryland School of Medicine, in the United States.
She is currently an Associate Professor, with tenure, at the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel. She is on a sabbatical at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Khitam’s main research interest is epidemiology of infectious diseases and vaccines, emphasizing enteric infections, Helicobacter pylori infection, and rotavirus.
With the emergence of COVID-19, her work focused on understating the epidemiology of COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccine uptake and impact.