As America struggles to administer vaccine doses due to logistical bottlenecks and supply shortages, Israel’s vaccine rollout is showing signs of dramatic success.
Just over four months ago, Israel’s COVID-19 outbreak was one of the worst on earth, and the country entered a strict lockdown. Then, the Israeli government struck a deal with Pfizer-BioNTech for enough doses to inoculate every Israeli adult by the end of March.
Two months in, the data is as promising as scientists predicted. In a study of 1.2 million people, the 600,000 who got the vaccine were 94% less likely to get symptomatic infections.
Professor Gili Regev-Yochay, Director of Sheba Medical Center’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit, said supplies are steady and the program is working.
“It’s amazing,” he said, adding, “And they’re now lowering the levels, the ages of which people can be already vaccinated.”
Just days ago, Israel’s lockdown was eased. It’s a welcome new reality for the nation — and for us, a possible glimpse of the future.
There’s also more hope for other countries, as the global vaccination effort slowly grows beyond the rich developed world. Syrian refugees are now getting shots, and the first shipments have just arrived in Zimbabwe.