By Manny Shklar
An Israeli child gets his first shot after the vaccine was approved for his age group.
After over 18 months of research into the COVID-19 pandemic and how to combat it, Israel has yielded beneficial results from its intense quarantine regimens and high vaccine rate. At the time of writing, over 62% of Israeli citizens are fully vaccinated, while nearly 68% have at least one shot. This is proving to be very good news for Israeli society, but there is still more work to be done. The government has approved over 16 million doses of the vaccine to be used. That many doses can be used to vaccinate nearly 90% of the country, and Israel does not plan on stopping there.
People should expect the already-high vaccination rate to begin rising dramatically, as Israel approved using the COVID vaccine on five to eleven-year-old children. Israeli health officials believe that most parents will get their children vaccinated as soon as possible. Polls and other forms about the matter have already been sent out around the country. Other countries, such as the United States, have already begun administering the vaccine to younger children, and it has benefitted them in many ways. Since the US started giving the shot to kids in late October, vaccine rates for people with at least one dose have risen from 67% to 70%. Israel should expect to see similar results very soon.
With Israel’s rising vaccine rate and low population, it would not come as a surprise if they are able to go almost back to normal sooner rather than later. On November 20th, Israel reported 361 new cases of the virus, the lowest since July 13th’s 196. There is no doubt that the new vaccine approval for younger ages has played a major role in the quick decrease in daily cases.
While the first 1 million doses of the vaccine for children have arrived in Israel, the Israeli government has also made statements on the FDA’s approval of a booster shot. A vaccine passport, known as a Green Pass, can only be valid if there is proof of the booster shot now.
Officials in Israel believe this action will work out very well for society, as Prime Minister Naftali Bennett believes that it will help save lives and let Israel reopen its borders. As he told the New York Times, “Now is the time to be strict about the Green Pass, be cautious and not become complacent,” and Bennett has continued to push for all citizens to be safe. Many think Bennett is the reason for the country’s shockingly fast start to the vaccine rollout.
Bennett’s advocacy allowed Israel to start providing boosters for older citizens in August, which was earlier than many other places. Now, nearly 3.5 million people have their third shot and this is contributing to Israel’s steady march towards nearly eliminating the pandemic. Another factor in Israel’s successful approach has been the government’s decision about people who have previously been infected with COVID-19. They now require anyone who had the virus previously to get vaccinated if they have been negative for 6 months or more. The protocols enforced by the government and Naftali Bennett are continuing to prove effective, making Israel a global role model.
Photo credit: Times of Israel