Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that would push the pace of coronavirus vaccination shots to about one million a week and would have Israel’s adult population inoculated by March.
“This is a great day for the State of Israel with a huge shipment that has arrived in the framework of Operation Back to Life, a plane full of shots of encouragement,” Netanyahu said as he and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein met a cargo plane at Ben-Gurion Airport carrying hundreds of thousands of doses of coronavirus vaccine manufactured by the American company Pfizer.
Netanyahu said 72% of those over the age of 60 have already received their first of two shots of the Pfizer vaccine and another planeload of the vaccine will arrive on Sunday. The Health Ministry’s target is to vaccinate 170,000 a day, giving a pace of roughly 1 million people vaccinated per week with the prime minister calling it a “world record.”
The Health Ministry announced that starting next Tuesday Israelis aged 55 and over, as well as teachers and workers in the education system, can get their first vaccination.
Thursday’s numbers showed that the national lockdown that began last week has not yet started to have an effect as the positive test rate of 7.4% was not slowing. There were 6,706 confirmed new cases in the past day and the number of Israelis currently sick with the virus reached almost 69,861.
Of those infected, 1,715 are hospitalized with 1,044 of them in serious condition and 293 listed in critical condition.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the virus has claimed 3,671 lives in Israel.