Israel vaccination drive begins as new cases soar

Pfizer vaccination  / Photo: Company website

The number of new people testing positive for Covid-19 on Friday and Saturday was up 50% from last week, the Health Ministry reports.

Israel's Covid-19 vaccination drive has begun as the number of new cases continues to climb alarmingly.

1,866 people tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday, the Ministry of Health reports, and 2,816 on Friday up about 50% from 1,291 last Saturday and 1,818 last Friday. 61,886 tests were carried out yesterday with 3.1% proving positive.

There are currently 447 people seriously ill with the virus in hospital, up from 401 on Thursday, including 110 on ventilators. 372,886 Israelis have contracted Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, 4.05% of Israel's population, and 3,074 people have died, up 41 since Thursday, the Ministry of Health reports.

The coronavirus cabinet is due to meet today and is expected to announce new restriction with all non-essential stores on streets and in malls likely to be order closed and all students from 5th to 12th grade expected to switch to remote learning.

Meanwhile Israel's vaccination drive has officially begun. Last night Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Health Yuli Edelstein became the first Israelis to receive the vaccination and today Israeli frontline medical staff will receive the Covid-19 jab. From tomorrow the health funds will begin to vaccinate high risk group elderly Israelis with underlying conditions.

Israel's health funds say they have the capacity to inoculate 40,000 people per day with each person receiving two shots - one jab and then a second jab three weeks later. For the time being all Israelis are receiving the Pfizer vaccination and it is unclear how many doses have so far been delivered to Israel. However, with US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency approval for the Moderna vaccination granted on Friday, the pace of vaccine arriving in Israel is expected to accelerate.

Despite the start of the vaccination drive, senior Ministry of Health officials in Israel say that it will be at least March before the benefit is felt in terms of seriously disrupting the infection chain.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 20, 2020

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

Pfizer vaccination  / Photo: Company website
Pfizer vaccination / Photo: Company website
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