Vaccine launch in Israel shows signs of success

While the United States is struggling to administer doses of the vaccine due to logistical bottlenecks and shortages of supplies, the vaccine’s launch in Israel is showing signs of dramatic success.

Just over four months ago, the COVID-19 outbreak in Israel was one of the worst on earth, and the country entered a strict blockade. Then, the Israeli government struck a deal with Pfizer-BioNTech for enough doses to inoculate all Israeli adults by the end of March.

Two months later, the data is as promising as the scientists predicted. On a study of 1.2 million people, the 600,000 who received the vaccine were 94% less likely to get symptomatic infections.

Professor Gili Regev-Yochay, Director of the Infectious Diseases Epidemiology Unit at Sheba Medical Center, said supplies were stable and the program was working.

“It’s incredible,” he said, adding, “And now they are lowering levels, the age of which people can already be vaccinated.”

A few days ago, Israel’s blockade was eased. It is a welcome new reality for the nation – and for us, a possible glimpse of the future.

There is also more hope for other countries, as the global vaccination effort slowly grows beyond the rich developed world. Syrian refugees are now being shot and the first shipments have just arrived in Zimbabwe.

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