Photo Credit: GPO
PM Netanyahu and Minister of Health Edelstein with Janet Lavi-Azulai. Israeli vaccine recipient # 5 million.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Health Yuli Edelstein arrived at a Tel Aviv clinic on Monday to meet Janet Lavi-Azulai, the five millionth Israeli to receive the Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine.

Janet Lavi-Azulai, 34, is pregnant and requested to be vaccinated.

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During the event, Netanyahu estimated that by the end of April the entire adult population in Israel will be vaccinated.

“We are working to bring in tens of millions more vaccines that will prevent further closures. By the end of April, the entire adult population will be vaccinated – a global achievement,” Netanyahu stated.

“We are ahead of the entire world population. Later, the children will also be vaccinated. Pfizer estimates that children under the age of 16 will soon also [be vaccinated]. [Vaccine] factories are also being built here. Factories that will stay here forever,” he added.

Netanyahu said last month that he has been in contact with the heads of Pfizer and Moderna “with the aim of establishing a vaccine plant in Israel.”

“A blue-and-white vaccine plant will provide a livelihood for thousands of families and make Israel a global center for the production, development and distribution of vaccines to the countries of the region,” he said.

Edelstein shared at the event that “it’s very pleasant sometimes to make a mistake. A few weeks ago, when someone said in the office: ‘We will do this when we reach five million vaccinated,’ I said: I’m not sure we’ll get five million vaccinated. And here, this is an opportunity to say well-done to the citizens of Israel who came to get vaccinated.”

“Thanks to these vaccines we can open almost anything: the economy, culture, sports, leisure, tourism,” he said while calling on all citizens to continue adhering to the social distancing guidelines.

The University of Oxford’s Our World in Data tracker, a global, aggregated database on COVID-19, showed Israel was the fastest country in vaccinating its population.

On a scale of the number of COVID-19 vaccination doses administered per 100 people within a given population, Israel came in first with 1.04, ahead of Chile with 0.94, and the US with 0.65.

Over 53% of Israelis have received the first dose of the Pfizer-developed COVID-19 vaccine, and over 3.8 million Israelis – about 40% – have received the second dose.

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.