'Magic has started': Small nation's inspiring virus achievement

Nick Whigham
·Assistant News Editor
·4-min read

One country’s rapid coronavirus vaccine rollout is already having the intended result – seemingly providing proof that the record-setting vaccines work as advertised, giving added hope as nations around the world rush to inoculate their citizens.

While Australia is still awaiting the first jabs to be administered, dozens of countries have launched into their vaccine rollout, with the Middle Eastern nation of Israel leading the way.

In per capita terms, Israel has administered more than 55 doses of either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine for every 100 residents.

Israel is streaming ahead of the rest of the world with its vaccine rollout. Source: Getty
Israel is streaming ahead of the rest of the world with its vaccine rollout. Source: Getty

Other western nations that have been hit hard by the pandemic such as the UK and the US have been much slower in their rollout, being fourth and sixth respectively in doses per capita.

The UK has notched up 15 doses per 100 residents while the US has hit 10 doses per 100 residents.

Interestingly, the small island nation of Seychelles comes in second with the UAE third and Bahrain ahead of the US in fifth place.

That’s according to Bloomberg’s Covid-19 vaccine tracker, which shows that vaccination campaigns have begun in at least 67 countries to date.

While the pandemic is still raging in Israel, the growing sample size of vaccination data is beginning to show positive results in the over 60s age group which received the jab first.

As cases in the demographic tumble, the results have sparked optimism among data enthusiasts.

Covid vaccine ‘magic has started’, expert says

According to research by one of Israel’s largest healthcare providers which is administering the jab, the Pfizer vaccine has been shown to be 92 per cent effective at preventing infection starting seven days after the second dose, a result that is right in line with Pfizer’s own clinical data.

As a result, there has been a 35 per cent drop in cases and a 30 per cent drop in hospitalisations among the age cohort – a notable positive trend compared to other age groups during Israel’s latest Covid restrictions.

The news prompted Eran Segal, a computational biologist at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, to say with a cation: “The magic has started”.

Israel’s health ministry has said that from Thursday anyone aged over 16 could be vaccinated.

Eligibility had at first been limited to over-60s and gradually lowered to include over-30s and people aged between 16 and 18.

The main driver of Israel’s rapid rollout — an efficient nationalised health system in which all 9 million citizens hold identity cards and register their electronic medical files — is not something other nations can emulate on the fly.

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has been fond of saying deals struck by the government with manufacturers have put Australians “at the front of the queue”, however the first jabs are not due to be administered until later this month.

The Israeli government was reportedly able to secure accelerated access to the Pfizer vaccine in return for providing age, sex and demographic data of vaccinated people. It is also believed Israel paid a high premium for the early access to the vaccine.

A health worker administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine to a pregnant woman in Israel. Source: Getty
A health worker administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine to a pregnant woman in Israel. Source: Getty

Australia receives boost to vaccine supplies

On Thursday, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison announced Australia had secured a further 10 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, doubling its previous stock.

The first jabs remain on track to be administered later this month despite supply concerns in Europe.

“It is the big agenda item for us, obviously, because it provides the pathway to so many of the other things we wish to achieve this year,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Thursday afternoon.

Australia is also relying on 50 million doses of the less effective AstraZeneca vaccine, which will be manufactured in Melbourne during the year.

Mr Morrison said the nation now had access to 150 million doses of vaccines across the portfolio of drugs. According to the government’s Covid-19 Vaccine and Treatment Strategy, that also includes 51 million doses of the Novavax vaccine.

with Yahoo News US

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