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Israel aims to vaccinate 150,000 people per day by next week

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced Israel’s plans to vaccinate 150,000 people a day by next weekend. Netanyahu, on Saturday, said that Israel was hoping to vaccinate a quarter of its population against coronavirus within a month in order to return to post-pandemic normalcy.

“I spoke over the weekend with the heads of the companies that are providing us with the vaccines and I told them that our goal by next weekend is to reach 150,000 vaccines a day,” Netanyahu said in a video.

“This means that within 30 days of reaching this pace we will have administered 4.5 million vaccinations,” he said. “Since everyone needs two injections, after one month we will have vaccinated 2.25 million Israeli citizens.”

Israel started a national vaccination drive on December 20 and has vaccinated some 266,000 people against COVID-19 so far, Channel 12 News reported Saturday.

In its last update before Shabbat on Friday morning, the Health Ministry said nearly 210,000 medical workers, Israelis over 60 and residents of senior living facilities had received the vaccine.

Israel currently ranks second globally in vaccinations per capita, after Bahrain, according to the University of Oxford-run Our World in Data.

Medical workers and the most vulnerable workers have received preference in getting the vaccines so far. However, according to a top Health Ministry official Israel aims to begin vaccinating the general public within 7-10 days.

The vaccination drive has moved forward quickly and the Prime Minister and the Health Ministry have already laid out ambitious plans for the coming weeks.

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein announced Wednesday that hospitals will operate vaccine centers beginning next week, further increasing immunization capacity.

The director-general of the Health Ministry, Chezy Levy said on Saturday that the at-risk population should be largely vaccinated with the two required doses of the vaccine at some point in February. The mass rollout of the vaccines will depend on how many vaccines can Pfizer and Moderna provide to the country.

“But it is all dependent on two things — firstly that Pfizer and Moderna will be able to increase the supply of vaccines to Israel. And the second thing of course is that the public turns up to get inoculated,” Levy said.

Along with some four million doses from Pfizer expected to arrive by the end of the month, it has been reported that another four million were expected to come by the end of March for a total of eight million doses.

The country also has an agreement to receive 6 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, enough for 3 million people. However, Channel 12 has said Moderna’s vaccine is not expected to arrive in Israel earlier than April.

Israel’s vaccination drive coincides with a dramatic spike in daily coronavirus infections, leading the government to impose a third general lockdown across the country starting on Sunday at 5 pm.

In a population of nine million, Israel has now confirmed 398,664 coronavirus cases with 3,210 proving fatal.

Jesse Sanders
Jesse Sanders
An avid researcher, aspiring journalist and a free thinker