ISRAEL has delivered almost five times as many Covid jabs as the UK just nine days after launching its vaccination programme.
The country has inoculated around 5.7 percent of its population, well above the 1.2 percent reached so far in the UK.
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The programme only began on December 20 – 12 days after the UK’s – and has administered half a million jabs, making it at present the fastest vaccination drive in the world, the Telegraph reports.
The number inoculated is already greater than the number of people in Israel who have tested positive since the start of the pandemic, currently 412,398.
The country has ordered eight million doses of the jab produced by US firm Pfizer, around 3.2million of which have been received.
Eight million doses is enough to eventually vaccinate four million people, almost half of Israel’s 9.2million population.
Six million doses of the Moderna jab have also been ordered, although they are not set to arrive in the country until April at the earliest.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who himself received a vaccine live on television, has said he wants to see two million people vaccinated by the end of next month.
The first stage of the rollout has prioritised healthcare and other at-risk workers, over-60s, and people with underlying health conditions.
The vaccination of frontline medical staff medical staff was reportedly completed in just two days, with teachers now set to be offered the jab from Thursday.
‘BEING TREATED LIKE A WAR’
Speaking to the Telegraph, Professor Allon Moses, director of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the Hadassah Medical Organisation, said: “It’s really being treated like a war.
“The hospitals are involved, the community clinics are involved, the army enlisted about 700 paramedics to help with the injections of the vaccine.
“It’s very similar to battle: you have an enemy, you have the right ammunition… and you just have to deliver.”
A highly-digitised healthcare system, making it easy to reach patients by text and voice messages, has been partly credited with the speed of the rollout.
Eligible people have also been able to contact their health provider and book in to receive a jab, whereas people in the UK have had to wait to be contacted.
An additional incentive to get the vaccine is being provided in the form of a “green passport”, which will be issued two weeks after a second dose is administered and will allow people to leave the country without being tested.
Professor Moses continued: “This type of strategy pulls [public opinion] toward agreeing to be vaccinated.
“The only thing that will slow down the rate of vaccinations now will be if there is a delay in any deliveries.”
After Israel, the second-widest rollout is in Bahrain, where 3.3 percent of people have been vaccinated, while the UK is in third.
The US and Canada are in fourth and fifth place, with 0.64 percent and 0.16 percent of their respective populations having received a jab.