Photo Credit: TPS
Operation “Lend a Shoulder,” a nation-wide process to inoculate the population against the Coronavirus (COVID-19), started at Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem. Jerusalem, Dec 20, 2020.

Preliminary estimates show that about 10,000 medical staff members were vaccinated against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Sunday, the first day of Israel’s nation-wide Operation “Lend a Shoulder” vaccination campaign.

The first to receive the Pfizer-developed shot were Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Health Yuli Edelstein, who were inoculated in a live broadcast on Saturday night, and all hospitals and HMOs launched their operations on Sunday.

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The Ministry of Health further estimates that the inoculation operation will pick up steam in the coming days with the start of vaccinations at the HMOs on Mondays for citizens aged 60 and over and at-risk populations.

In the coming days, the data on the number of those vaccinated daily will also be updated on the Ministry of Health’s website, together with the data on new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said that about 200,000 Israelis have made appointments to be vaccinated, and in the coming days “we will increase the pace. Go get vaccinated, that’s the only way to fight Corona.”

Director-General of the Ministry of Health, Prof. Hezi Levy was pleased by the “great response from the medical staff throughout the country, and starting yesterday afternoon, the pressure was felt from the public to get vaccinated.”

“It is important for me to emphasize – we will vaccinate everyone and there is nothing to worry about,” he added.

Israel has signed contracts with Pfizer and Moderna and expects to receive enough units to inoculate the entire population.

Hundreds of thousands of units have already arrived in the country and millions more will arrive in the coming days, the Ministry of Health stated,

At a rate of some 60,000 shots a day, the government hopes that some two million Israelis will receive the shot by the end of January.

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