According to Israel, almost a tenth of its population has been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, which is approximately one million people. The country has rolled out one of the most rapid and earliest inoculation campaigns in the world. On Friday, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the millionth vaccination in Umm el-Fahm, which is an Arab city in the north of the country. It was defined as a moment of ‘great excitement’ by Netanyahu.
The first dose of the vaccine has been given to more than 10 percent of Israel’s population. Edelstein said that it had happened less than two weeks after the inoculation campaign had been launched in the country. Netanyahu said that their aim was to vaccinate 5.5 million people in Israel, which has a total population of 9.3 million. According to the figures provided by the health ministry, on Thursday alone they had vaccinated around 153,400 people in the country.
More than 40% of the people in the country who are aged 60 and above have been given the first of the two doses that have to be injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Almost 20% of the population in Israel comprises of Arabs. They have been granted citizenship in the country and have the right to vote, but they face a lot of discrimination in terms of housing and other aspects, which has contributed to a widespread distrust of authorities.
Netanyahu said that it was important for them to vaccinate the Arab population in the country quickly because it had to do with saving lives. The same message was delivered by the Prime Minister at a vaccination centre in Tira on New Year’s Eve, which is another Arab town. According to researchers based in Oxford, the speed at which Israel is vaccinating its population is unmatched in any other part of the world.
Our World in Data’s website showed a graphic in which a comparison was done of the number of people that have been vaccinated in every country per 100 residents. It showed that Israel has a clear lead at 11.55, as of Friday, even if the country is lagging behind others, such as China and the United States in absolute numbers. Recently in Israel, there has been a surge in coronavirus infections even though they have imposed a third partial lockdown aimed at reducing the spread. The total number of cases has gone beyond 426,000 and the total number of deaths that have been reported since the pandemic began is 3,338.
The health ministry added new infections to the total on Friday by about 5,804. This was slightly less than the daily rise on Thursday of about 5,831. This is the strongest increase that has been seen in the country since October. The health ministry announced that restrictions need to be intensified beginning on Sunday.