Influencing Covid-19 and Monkeypox Policy

Headshot of Ronen Arbel

Leveraging routinely available data, researchers can quickly influence global policy as illustrated by work on COVID-19 and Monkeypox in Israel, according to Dr. Ronan Arbel of Clalit Health Services.  In a recent CHDS seminar, Arbel discussed how his team used health record data collected by Clalit Health Services and COVID-19 data collected by the government to evaluate vaccine efficacy early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Clalit’s data included over 20 years of full life span records on over 40 million people, that was combined with government data on COVID-19 outcomes, vaccinations, and test results. These data were used to estimate the effectiveness of COVID-19 interventions, including the first and second vaccine boosters. Key challenges included addressing variation in how health outcomes were defined, maximizing data capture under short follow-up time periods with rare end-point events, and minimizing several sources of potential bias. The results of these studies significantly influenced government decisions to expand the use of the boosters.

Arbel also discussed their work on the recent monkeypox outbreak. His team assessed the risk of monkeypox based on available data and identified those at highest risk to support prioritization of vaccine delivery. In addition, data on vaccine efficacy had been based on non-human primates; his team was able to use Clalit Health Services data to evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccine on humans. Their results played a vital role in vaccine deployment decisions worldwide. More generally, Arbel’s work highlights the ability to use observational data to generate prompt evidence to support policy decisions in public health emergencies.

Learn more: Read BNT162b2 Vaccine Booster and Mortality Due to COVID-19
Learn more: Read Effectiveness of a Second BNT162b2 Booster Vaccine against Hospitalization and Death from COVID-19 in Adults Aged over 60 Years
Learn more: Read Risk Assessment of Human Monkeypox Infections for Vaccine Prioritization
Learn more: Read Effectiveness of a Single-Dose Modified Vaccinia Ankara in Human Monkeypox: An Observational Study

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