By Sophia Mittman
There have been more than 450,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 3,500 deaths from the coronavirus in Israel. On December 19, 2020, Israel began vaccinating its citizens. It is currently ahead of other countries with distributing the vaccination. Israel prioritized Israelis over the age of 60, health care workers, and people with autoimmune issues, however, the plan is to vaccinate everyone over the age of 16. This includes all Israeli citizens of any nationality or religion, plus asylum seekers and foreign workers. It does not include the West Bank and Gaza, since their healthcare is run by the Palestinian governments, which initially refused any help offered by Israel for their rollout of the vaccines for their citizens. However Israel stands ready to help them if they request assistance.
As of January 19, 2021, approximately 25% of the population (over 1.59 million Israelis) received its first dose, and 550,000 people received both vaccine doses.The Jewish state is vaccinating around 150,000 people per day and plans on having most of the country vaccinated by April 2021. Although Israel does not have a huge population, the number of vaccinated people in the country is still drastically high.
The vaccine rollout has been very successful in Israel. Israeli residents are receiving it faster than citizens of any other country in the world. The rate of citizens being vaccinated is 32% compared with only 5% of the citizens of the United States. There are several reasons for the thriving rollout. Israel was one of the first countries to purchase a supply of vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer. The Israeli government agreed to pay a significant amount of money for the vaccines and also agreed to let Pfizer collect the data from the citizens who received their vaccine. Another reason could be the fact that most citizens are not in opposition to receiving the vaccine. In addition, many vaccination sites were set up all over the country, and all Israeli citizens are required to belong to one of the four national health organizations. Therefore, they could be easily contacted about receiving the vaccine. At this time, Israel will continue to vaccinate its citizens as fast as possible and will hopefully continue to be a model for the rest of the world.