TEL AVIV, Israel — Israel became the first country to complete the first phase of COVID-19 vaccinations for all residents and employees of elder-care, assisted-living and retirement facilities.
The country’s 10-day vaccination drive for the elderly in residential facilities had administered the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine to all of its approximately 150,000 residents and employees by Jan. 7, according to Magen David Adom, a national organization responsible for emergency, pre-hospital medical care and blood services.
The second round of the two-dose vaccination campaign will begin this week.
While any Israeli over 60 years old can get vaccinated at his or her HMO clinic, many residents of elder-care facilities were unable to leave home. Instead, specially trained emergency medical technicians came to the facilities, MDA Director General Eli Bin explained in a press release.
“This is an important day when the elderly, parents, grandparents of all of us who are in a high-risk group and a top priority in terms of vaccination received the first vaccine and are about to receive the second vaccine and within 10 days will be vaccinated and protected,” Bin said.
Israel has so far given the most COVID-19 vaccine doses per capita of any country. As of Jan. 11, approximately 21.02 out of every 100 Israelis had received their first dose, according to Our World Data.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Jan. 9 an agreement with Pfizer for “additional huge shipments of vaccines for the State of Israel, which will enable us to vaccinate all citizens of Israel over 16 within two months, by the end of March at the latest.”
“Israel is at the forefront of the vaccinating countries, and Magen David Adom as the national rescue organization will continue to be at the forefront of the fight against the spread of the coronavirus,” Bin said.
Since the beginning of the global pandemic, MDA teams have sampled about 3,650,000 people for the novel coronavirus. The country has reported just under 500,000 cases and nearly 3,700 related deaths.
(Edited by Carlin Becker and David Martosko)
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