Four-hundred-million doses of vaccines have been given worldwide, but Israel still way out in front with more than half its population inoculated.
By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel
In the race to vaccinate countries against the coronavirus pandemic, Israel is leading the pack with almost two thirds of its 9.3 million citizens having received at least one dose of the vaccine.
As of Friday, the Ministry of Health reported that 4.5 million Israelis had received two shots of the American-made Pfizer vaccine and were fully vaccinated, while another 650,000 received one shot so far as the vaccination campaign continues across the country.
The government is planning to inoculate all Israelis aged 16 and above,. The vaccines have not yet been approved for children as clinical trials to that end continue around the world.
The speed of inoculation is picking up globally with 100 million vaccinations in the past 11 days, AFP reported. In the United States, 113 million vaccination shots were administered so far.
In a sign of how the pace is picking up, the last 100 million people vaccinated got their jabs within 11 days — six times faster than it took to give the first 100 million, AFP reported.
The doses are being given in more than 158 countries around the world, with Israel being one of the only countries to have vaccinated more that half of its population against the pandemic.
Compare that to other countries like the U.S., where 22% of Americans have been vaccinated, the UK (38%), Chile (28%), Bahrain (22%) and Serbia (16%). There is a long road ahead to get the world protected against the virus, as China, with 1.44 billion citizens, has vaccinated only 65 million, and India, with a population of 1.38 billion, has vaccinated only 39 million. The EU has given shots to 54 million of its 448 million citizens, accounting for 8.5% of Europeans.
As the number of those vaccinated in Israel goes up, the number of new cases has been dropping dramatically in recent weeks. The Health Ministry has reported only 1,225 new cases in the past day.
The number of Israelis actively sick and hospitalized in serious condition has been steadily declining as the vaccination program continues. This week, the government announced the reopening of wide areas of the economy, including restaurants, entertainment venues and major sports games – although some restrictions are still in place regarding the number of people allowed in.
Israelis wanting to go to a professional basketball game or stay at a hotel must show a certificate that they have been vaccinated or proof of a recent negative test for the coronavirus.