Israel has successfully vaccinated about 16% of its population with the first of two required inoculations against COVID-19.
According to Israel Hayom, about 1.5 million Israelis have so far received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine produced by the American company Pfizer. Of those vaccinated so far, 65% are aged 60 and over, and 35% are younger comprising medical and other essential workers, and others who received vaccinations at hospitals or other vaccination stations.
However, the Ministry of Health has warned about an expected shortage of doses, and having to reserve the remaining 1.5 million shots of the Pfizer vaccine for the second follow-up vaccination required three weeks after the first injection.
All four of Israel’s health maintenance organizations (HMOs) said they are currently completing the appointments for the final first doses, but would soon stop in order to ensure there is enough vaccine available for the second doses for those 1.5 million Israelis who already received it.
Israel has also ordered 6 million doses of the vaccine produced by the American company Moderna, which announced Monday that it had received approval for use in Israel. The first shipment of Moderna vaccines is expected to land in Israel this week, but Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said that the main shipments of Moderna vaccines – enough to inoculate 3 million Israelis – were not expected until March.
Israel’s vaccination campaign launched on Dec. 19, and HMOs are gearing up to administer the second shot beginning next week.