Leading Prof.: Israel’s COVID Vaccine Drive Helped Save 6,000 Lives

Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccines arrive at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Yerushalayim. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Had Israel not embarked on its unprecedented vaccination drive, 12,000 Israelis would have lost their lives to the coronavirus, according to a model presented by pediatrician and epidemiologist Professor Eli Somech at a meeting of the Health Ministry’s epidemiology division on Wednesday.

To date, about half that number, 6,346 people, have succumbed to the virus in Israel.

Somech’s model relies on the number of daily deaths from the coronavirus in Italy ahead of the vaccination campaign there, around 400, which given the size of the country’s population, is equivalent to 50 daily deaths in Israel.

Nearly five million Israelis, accounting for 80% of the country’s population aged 16 and over, have received both doses of Pfizer-BIONtech’s coronavirus vaccine.

Earlier this week, Israel signed a deal with Pfizer and Moderna for 18 million more doses of their vaccines. Israel and Pfizer also agreed on the option to purchase millions of additional doses if needed. The vaccines purchased and signed for will be tailored to stand up against variants.

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