As Israel’s five millionth citizen was vaccinated against the coronavirus on Monday, the country drew a large step closer to its goal of vaccinating the entire population.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu predicted that by the end of April the entire over-16 population will be vaccinated, as approximately a million more eligible Israelis have yet to be immunized.
When that is done, he said, Israel will be “out of the coronavirus” pandemic, calling it “a world achievement.”
Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein were on hand, as they have been for previous million-shot milestones.
They looked on as Janet Lavi-Azulay, 34, from Petach Tikva, was given her first dose of the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination. She told the Kan public broadcaster that it was a “wonderful feeling.”
Edelstein pointed out that jocularly, since she is expecting, it was unclear if Lavi-Azulay’s vaccination was number 5,000,000 or 5,000,001.
Health authorities are encouraging expectant mothers to get vaccinated, and Netanyahu urged people to ignore “fake news” about the dangers.
“We can now open up nearly everything, the economy, culture, sport, leisure, tourism,” Edelstein said.
In January, Health Ministry Director-General Chezy Levy estimated that Israel would reach “herd immunity” when the combined number of vaccinated, those who have recovered from the coronavirus, and those infected reaches 5 million, according to leaks at the time from a cabinet meeting, The Times of Israel noted.