Israel Becomes the Leading Country for COVID-19 Vaccinations

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By Sam Baghal, International News Editor

Israel’s vaccination program is making progress fast, having already distributed the COVID-19 vaccine to over ⅓ of its population. At this pace, Israel plans to administer the vaccine to all citizens 16 and older by the end of March, putting them on track for becoming the first country to immunize its people against the virus. 

In early January, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that a deal was secured with the multinational pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer. With this arrangement, Pfizer has agreed to supply enough doses to vaccinate Israel’s entire adult population over the next two months. 

Elderly Israelis and others who have medical conditions or high-risk jobs have been given priority thus far. However, with the increased shipments from Pfizer, the vaccine will become much more widely available.

Considering the new supply deal and that nearly one in five Israelis have already received their first dose, Netanyahu’s progress predictions for Match don’t seem too out of reach.

“We will be the first country in the world to emerge from the coronavirus,” Netanyahu said in a statement about the vaccination campaign he has named “Operation Getting Back to Life.”

While their program is clearly organized and on track, much of Israel’s success is based on the country’s small population. Israel only has a population of about nine million, thus, the process of distributing doses has accordingly been moving at a faster pace than larger countries like the U.S. Of the nine million, five million have already received the vaccine once, and one million have gotten second doses.

Recent Israeli studies have also worked to prove the efficiency of the vaccine itself. Collected data suggests that only 0.04% of people caught the virus a week after their second dose and 0.002% of that small group required hospital treatment. Thus, there have definitely been visible decreases in both hospital cases and infection rates.

“The progress that Israel has made so far with rolling out the vaccine and curbing the pandemic is both impressive and reassuring,” said Senior Jamie Hamalainen. “Seeing how the vaccine has proven to be effective and Israel’s program is widely successful, I hope that the U.S. can match their world-record pace and start making the vaccine more available to the public.”

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