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Israel’s Covid vaccine rollout is the fastest in the world — here are some lessons for the rest of us

While the U.S., U.K. and Europe attempt to ramp up their own Covid vaccination drives, one country is outpacing them all: Israel. Israel’s vaccination drive began on Dec. 19 with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the first person to be vaccinated in the country. Priority has been given to people aged over 60, healthcare workers and anyone clinically vulnerable — reported to make up around a quarter of its population of 9 million.

It has raced ahead of other countries that have also started their vaccination rollouts. To date, and with a new lockdown in place amid a surge in coronavirus cases, experts say around 1.5 million people in Israel have received their first vaccine shot.

Around 60% of the priority groups for the vaccine have now been immunized, despite some of them being hard to reach, such as those confined to their homes, according to Dr Boaz Lev, who chairs the advisory committee for epidemic control and coronavirus vaccines at Israel’s Ministry of Health. The country is vaccinating around 150,000 people per day, he added, and aims to have vaccinated the majority of the country by April. “The core aim of our vaccination program is to vaccinate as many people as we can, as quickly as we can,” Lev said.

From logistics to public information campaigns, there are a number of lessons that other countries could learn as they try to ramp up their own vaccination drives. “First of all … plan in advance. Be prepared, have a big informational campaign and get the trust of the people, that’s on one side,” Lev told CNBC Wednesday. “Then, create a good flow of vaccines, a good flow of people … with a good administrative background so that you can register them and they know when to come for their next jab. So there’s a variety of things involving planning ahead basically, and having it rolled out so it flows.”

Israeli officials have been tight-lipped about how many vaccinations the country has ordered, but vaccine makers reported that it has secured 8 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and 6 million doses of the Moderna vaccine (the first batch of which was due to arrive Thursday). It has not been revealed how much of the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine the country has ordered.

All of these vaccines require everyone to have two-doses; there are reports that Israel paid higher vaccine prices as it vied to get supplies ahead of larger countries.

Israel’s Covid vaccine rollout is the fastest in the world — here are some lessons for the rest of us, CNBC, Jan 8

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