New analyzes are coming from Israel on the progress of the pandemic, which confirm encouraging data on the effect of vaccination. Israel is by far the country where the vaccination campaign has progressed most rapidly, to the point that it has become a sort of large laboratory for evaluating the effectiveness of the most widely used vaccine so far in the United States and the European Union.
Today over a third of the population (9 million in all) have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech), and about 20 percent of the inhabitants have already completed the vaccination and received the second dose as well. According to the latest data provided, cases of COVID-19 are decreasing significantly among people over 60, the first to be vaccinated. There is talk of a 26 percent reduction in hospitalizations for this age group, compared to the peak that was recorded in mid-January.
The researchers believe it was the vaccine that had these positive effects in individuals over the age of 60, compared to the new blockade decided in late December by the Israeli government and then further tightened in early January.
Israel has stepped up its vaccination campaign, vaccinating 2 percent of the population every day.
Israel was able to vaccinate so quickly thanks to a massive supply of doses from Pfizer-BioNTech. In recent months, the Israeli government had in fact made an agreement to have large supplies, in exchange for a scientific collaboration to provide more data to the two pharmaceutical companies, useful for analyzing the vaccine trend in the community and comparing the data with those obtained in tests. clinical. During the trial, Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine was found to be 95 percent effective in protecting against COVID-19, but usually effective in the community – so on a much higher number of people than in clinical trials – tends to be lower.
The vaccine seems to confirm its ability to protect against COVID-19, while it is too early to say whether it reduces the spread of the coronavirus and therefore the risk of new infections. Other factors are also affecting the results of the vaccination campaign in Israel. The government closed the country’s only international airport on January 24, when some variants had already spread that seem to make the coronavirus more contagious.
The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has shown some reluctance to reprimand or sanction those who do not respect the lockdown rules, for example for religious reasons. In the spring there will be political elections and Netanyahu would like to get there with as many vaccines administered as possible, also to politically exploit any possible result.
If we compare Israel with another country which was among the first ones to start rolling out vaccines, it becomes immediatley clear how Israel is leading the world in COVID-19 vaccine rollout. With a population of million people, Israel has set up 150 vaccine clinics across the country, as well as sports arenas and conference centres to act as “super sites” for inoculations. Haifa, a coastal city in Israel, even set up a drive-in vaccination site, where citizens can roll up in their vehicles and receive a vaccine without taking off their seatbelts. In contrast, Ontario has only 19 vaccination clinics, and so far Manitoba is the only province to set up a “super site” for vaccines. According ot experts, another approach that has been working for Israel, is its health-care system, which is centralized and digitized.