• Bassma Al Jandaly, Editor In Chief

Israel leads vaccine race




Israel has given vaccinations against coronavirus to more than one million people, the highest rate in the world, as global immunisation efforts step up.


Israel has a rate of 11.55 vaccination doses per 100 people, followed by Bahrain at 3.49 and the UK at 1.47, according to a global tracking website affiliated with Oxford University.


In comparison, France had vaccinated 138 people in total by 30 December.


More than 1.8m people have now died of the virus around the world.


The comparative figures on vaccination are put together by Our World in Data, which is a collaboration between Oxford and a UK-based educational charity.


They measure the number of people who have received a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Most of the vaccines approved for use so far rely on two doses, given more than a week apart.


The US fell far short of its target of vaccinating 20 million people by the end of 2020, with just 2.78 million having received a jab by 30 December.


Meanwhile, India is staging drills of its vaccine roll-out, ahead of an expected approval by the national regulator next week.


Israel began vaccinations on 19 December and is delivering jabs to about 150,000 people a day, with priority given to the over-60s, health workers and people who are clinically vulnerable.


It secured supplies of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine following negotiations early on in the pandemic. It is contacting people with priority access to the vaccine through its health care system - by law all Israelis must register with a recognised health care provider.


Israel has safely subdivided shipments of the Pfizer vaccine, which must be stored at -70C, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein told YNet TV news. This means smaller batches of the vaccine can be sent out to remote communities.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is campaigning for re-election, has predicted Israel could emerge from the pandemic as early as February. It is currently in its third national lockdown. bbc

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