Since the beginning of the pandemic, Israel was clear on only one thing: it would launch all its efforts to combat COVID-19 as quickly as possible. And he did. At present Israel is by far the country that administered the most vaccines per 100 people in its population and in daily doses applied in the last 7 days per million inhabitants.
Specifically, Israel began the vaccination campaign on December 19 and doses are administered to about 150,000 people a day, with priority for those over 60 years of age, health personnel and the population at risk. Use the vaccine Pfizer and BioNTech.
But, What was your strategy? According to Dr. Asher Shalmon, director of the Division of International relations of the Ministry of Health, lThe key was the speed with which they acted in the face of the pandemic. “We started to prepare since we got the news from China of this new virus. At that point we did not imagine what was going to happen to us. Today we know that COVID-19 was a very interesting challenge. None of us will be the same again after COVID-19 for better or for worse, “explained Shalmon in the framework of a virtual conference on the vaccination campaign in Israel of which Infobae was part of.
Israel has a centralized and functional health system
The truth is that the local health system is administered and controlled by a limited set of coordinated entities. Unlike other healthcare systems around the world, which have hundreds of insurers, healthcare providers, private physicians, and a decentralized system of hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies, Israel has a centralized and functional health system.
In this sense, the specialist went on to explain the main keys to vaccinate the population so quickly:
-The role of the media and the information provided to the population regarding the vaccine to motivate people to confidently inoculate with the product
–A simple prioritization of who is the first to get the doses: over 60, health personnel and people who are working on the front line
–A registry with the effects and risk of vaccination as they are vaccinated
An important part of the strategy was the role of the media to disseminate information about the vaccine among the population.
However, like all territories, due to vaccine technology, Israel also faced various challenges related to storing the doses, which require low temperatures.: “We need a place with a low temperature to store the doses, also some warehouses that can store the vaccines for a short period at temperatures of 2 to 8 degrees, but we could solve all this.”
In this sense, A centralized vaccination plan was deployed through the Ministry of Health, assuring each vaccinated person the second dose. In addition, the vaccines are distributed in short periods to avoid the expiration of the formulas and that they do not spoil.
“We learned a couple of lessons along this path, but the most important ones range from the need to build smaller equipment for distribution, the need to have a system for monitoring adverse effects, documentation and inventory as well as the expiration date of each vaccine at each site”, Said the specialist.
In Israel and according to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s calculations, the vaccination campaign would allow Israel to lift restrictions from the beginning of March
In addition, one of the most important keys to face the vaccination system was the creation of a call center for the professionals who administer the doses as well as understanding that both injections and syringes are as important as formulas.
“The outreach campaign for vaccination was crucial. We convinced the population that it was safe to come to be vaccinated, that the product is effective and that they could trust the vaccine. We also did a training on how to administer the vaccine among health professionals. That was fundamental ”, emphasized Shalmon.
The reasons that position Israel as a success story
If I had to list the reasons, Shalmon explained that the entire Nation is working simultaneously for the same purpose: “We are putting our efforts as a multi-agency where all agents are key, not only those of health. On the other hand, I think flexibility was very important to carry out this vaccination campaign, and above all the information that we provide to the population about vaccines ”.
Netanyahu said that some 2.25 million Israelis, more than a quarter of the population, will be inoculated by the end of January.
“We have worked to bring millions of vaccines to Israel and now, through the Ministry of Health, the hospitals and the health funds, which are managing this great operation, we are able to achieve this result ”, said the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -who was the first Israeli to be immunized as an example for the rest of the population-, when he participated together with the Minister of Health, Yuli Edelstein, in the ceremony in Jerusalem that saw the immunization of David Herzl Levy, the man who allowed him to cross the threshold of 500 thousand. Since the campaign began a little over a week ago, the first dose of Pfizer has already been given to 650,000 Israelis, and they are expected to reach one million this week.
“My mission is to ensure that we continue on this path. If we continue in this way, Israel will be the first nation in the world to emerge from the coronavirus emergency.“Added the premier. Netanyahu said that some 2.25 million Israelis, more than a quarter of the population, will be inoculated by the end of January. This is because Israel ‘punctures’ an average of 120,000 citizens a day and expects to reach 50% of those vaccinated in March.
According to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s calculations, the vaccination campaign would allow Israel to lift restrictions from the beginning of March, a few weeks before a new general election is held in this country.
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