Health Chiefs: Israel to Vaccinate Two Million People by End of January

Published January 4th, 2021 - 11:39 GMT
An Israeli military medic prepares to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the medical centre of Tzrifin military base in the Israeli town of Rishon Lezion on December 28, 2020. JACK GUEZ / AFP
An Israeli military medic prepares to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the medical centre of Tzrifin military base in the Israeli town of Rishon Lezion on December 28, 2020. JACK GUEZ / AFP
Highlights
'We are breaking all the records,' Netanyahu said on Friday.

Israel announced that two million people will have received a two-dose Covid-19 vaccination by the end of January, a pace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasts is the world's fastest.

Starting on December 19, when Netanyahu got his first jab, Israel launched an aggressive push to administer the vaccine made by US-German pharma alliance Pfizer-BioNTech.

Health Ministry Director General Hezi Levy said that because of the enthusiastic take up, Israel would be easing the speed of vaccination to eke out stocks.

The vaccine must be given in two separate jabs, administered three weeks apart.

'We are slowing the pace of vaccinations of the first dose, so that we can keep reserved stock for a second dose for all those who got a first shot,' Levy told public broadcaster KAN.

But he added that around a fifth of Israel's people, starting with health workers and those over 60, would have had both shots by the end of this month.

'By the end of January, we shall have inoculated two million residents, most of them elderly,' he said.

As of Friday, one million people have had received their first injection.

'We are breaking all the records,' Netanyahu said Friday, during a visit to the Israeli Arab city of Umm Al-Fahm, where the millionth jab was reported to have been administered.

'We are ahead of the entire world,' the premier said.

The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics said in a year-end statement that Israel's population stood at 9.29 million.

The figure includes annexed east Jerusalem, where Israeli sovereignty is not recognized by most of the international community.

The health ministry said on Sunday that 435,866 people in Israel had so far tested positive for the virus since the first confirmed case was reported in February. Almost 3,400 people have died, it said.

 

The ministry said on Friday that it had confirmed 18 local cases of a new strain of coronavirus first detected in Britain.

Israel has been leading the global vaccination race with more than seven per cent of its population already given the jab in the space of nine days. 

The rapid rollout in a country that prides itself on self-reliance comes after Israel's health minister ordered a 24/7 vaccination drive, hundreds of military medics were drafted in to help with the effort and the country ordered shots from all three of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca in advance. 

Israel is expected to launch a so-called 'green passport' scheme in January which means people immunized against Covid-19 will avoid having to quarantine if they travel from abroad or come into contact with a virus patient.  

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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