Netanyahu: We will vaccinate 170,000 Israelis a day

Netanyahu greeted a planeload of coronavirus vaccines and said the target is to vaccinate all Israeli adults before the end of March.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel would push the pace of coronavirus vaccination shots to about one million a week and would have Israel’s adult population inoculated by March.

“This is a great day for the State of Israel with a huge shipment that has arrived in the framework of Operation Back to Life, a plane full of shots of encouragement,” Netanyahu said as he and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein met a cargo plane at Ben-Gurion Airport carrying hundreds of thousands of doses of coronavirus vaccine manufactured by the American company Pfizer.

Netanyahu said 72% of those over the age of 60 have already received their first of two shots of the Pfizer vaccine and another planeload of vaccine will arrive on Sunday. The Health Ministry target is to vaccinate 170,000 a day, giving a pace of roughly 1 million people vaccinated per week with the prime minister calling it a “world record.”

The premier said his attention will now turn to the economy where he would attack Israel’s pandemic economic crisis “as I attacked the vaccines with more aid, help and grants … we will be the first country in the world to emerge from the corona health and economic [crises].”

Health Ministry statistics released Monday morning showed that 1.8 million Israelis had been vaccinated so far in the program by which Pfizer will provide millions of doses of vaccine to make Israel the first to inoculate its population. In return Israel will share the data with the pharmaceutical company and the World Health Organization to study how the administration of the vaccine works on an entire country .

The Pfizer vaccine requires two shots of the same vaccine three weeks apart and Netanyahu and Edelstein received their second dose on national television Saturday night to encourage Israelis to get vaccinated.

Hospitals and HMOs are administering the shots starting with medical workers who were the first to receive the vaccine last month.

The Health Ministry announced that starting Tuesday Israelis aged 55 and over as well as teachers and workers in the education system can get their first vaccination.

Monday’s numbers showed that the national lockdown that began last week has not yet started to have an effect as the positive test rate of 7.4% was not slowing. There were 6,706 confirmed new cases in the past day and the number of Israelis currently sick with the virus reached almost 69,861.

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Of those infected, 1,715 are hospitalized with 1,044 of them in serious condition and 293 listed in critical condition.

Since the beginning of the pandemic the virus has claimed 3,671 lives in Israel.