Over 260K Israelis Vaccinated; Netanyahu Aims for 150K/Day

Health care workers take test samples of Israelis at a test site to collect samples for coronavirus testing, in Modi’in, on Thursday. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Motzoei Shabbos that he sought to reach a vaccination rate of around 150,000 people a day within a week, and to have inoculated over two million Israelis by the end of January.

Israel has vaccinated some 266,000 people against COVID-19 since kicking off a national vaccination drive this week, Channel 12 News reported Motzoei Shabbos.

At a pace of 150,000 vaccines administered a day, Netanyahu said that within a month 2.25 million Israelis could receive both doses of the vaccine.

He also said he’d spoken over the weekend with the heads of pharmaceutical firms, asking them to increase the pace at which they’re supplying the vaccine in order to allow the increased rate. Netanyahu said the officials told him they believed they could do so.

“This is the critical stage… because this is the entire at-risk population: all the medical teams, all the people over 60. Within this stratum is 95% of the mortality. Once we finish this stage, within 30 days we can get out of the coronavirus [pandemic], open the economy and do things that no other state can do,” he claimed, echoing an assertion he made Thursday.

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said in a statement Motzoei Shabbos that he would seek to vaccinate the country’s teaching professionals this week, to help protect them as schools remain open during a new national lockdown.

Israel currently ranks second globally in vaccinations per capita, after Bahrain, according to the University of Oxford-run Our World in Data.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry reported Motzoei Shabbos that another 3,994 virus cases had been diagnosed Friday and another 1,439 by Shabbos afternoon, taking the number of active cases up to 34,996. The death toll rose by 20 to 3,203.

The test positivity rate stood at 4.7% Friday, one of the higher rates seen in recent weeks.