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The Israeli miracle in vaccination against Covid

The Mediterranean country has already managed to vaccinate more than 20% of its population.

Person giving a vaccine to another

Israel is the country with the highest percentage of vaccinated against COVID-19 in the world. / Photo: Pexels

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: El milagro israelí en la vacunación contra el Covid

Israel has been in the news in recent weeks for being the country with the highest percentage of vaccinated against COVID-19 in the world. This small country, which has survived several wars against its neighbors, which is always on red alert for attacks and which is criticized for its policy against the Arab minority and its occupation in Palestine, is an example of vaccination for the rest of the world.

Of the nearly 9 million inhabitants of the country, 2.4 million have already received the first dose, which is about 28% of those vaccinated. This is a rate six times that of the United States, but with much fewer resources. According to The Atlantic newspaper, it is estimated that by the end of March the majority of the Israeli population will already be vaccinated. Even the Eurasian country has already started this past weekend the immunization of the young population.

But these results are given, to a large extent, by the recognized health system they have. The Israeli Health System was considered the best in the world, in terms of efficiency, in 2013; a year later it would occupy the seventh place and in 2015, the magazine Bloomberg, classified it as the 6th healthiest country and the 8th in life expectancy.

Israel has had a universal health system since 1995 that covers all citizens residing in the country. Services are run by non-profit organizations known as Kaput Holim (sickness funds). All this, with spending (60%) lower in percentage than the average of the OECD countries (72%).

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It is precisely that trust that Israelis have in their health care systems, a much greater trust than they may have in their political leaders. But even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will run for re-election only in March, has used the vaccine as his workhorse. He was the first to get vaccinated and send a safety message to his population.

Netanyahu was also personally tasked with negotiating Pfizer vaccines with the CEO of the company himself, who is of Greek and Jewish descent (perhaps an advantage when it comes to receiving vaccines for the only Jewish country in the world). This is why the Israeli government revealed that Pfizer promised it 6 million doses (for 3 million people).

It is even suspected that the rapid arrival of vaccines to Israel is also associated with a higher price paid for the doses. According to local media, the Israeli government paid an average of $ 47 dollars for the doses of Moderna and Pfizer, a higher price than announced by the pharmaceutical companies and this would be related to the request to receive the vaccines in less time.

A quick start and a slow end

Despite the rapidity in vaccinating the population in Israel, it is feared that the communities of Arabs and Orthodox Jews are the slowest to vaccinate. The difficulty may be for various reasons, but it highlights the little confidence that these minorities have in the national government and the poor communication or lack of information that can arise within these populations.

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