Netanyahu is 1st Israeli to receive COVID vaccine
Published: 11:45 AM, 20 December 2020
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has received a COVID-19 vaccine jab on Saturday, becoming the country’s first person to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
71-year-old Netanyahu and his health minister were injected with the vaccine live on TV at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv.
With this, Israel kicked off a coronavirus vaccination drive. Shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines began arriving in Israel last week. Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines are in order. Israel expects to have enough doses by the year’s end for the 20% of its population most prone to COVID-19 complications.
“I asked to be vaccinated first, together with Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, to serve as personal examples and encourage you to be vaccinated,” Netanyahu told the television audience.
“This is a very moving moment,” he said, adding businesses would soon be able to resume work and people will be able to earn a living as before.
Netanyahu and Edelstein must each receive a booster shot in three weeks for optimal protection from the coronavirus.
The vaccine will be rolled out at 10 hospitals and vaccination centres around Israel for healthcare workers from Sunday, according to the health ministry.
During the course of the week, a ministry statement said, vaccinations will be extended to the general public, starting with those above 60 years of age.
The massive vaccination campaign, said to be the biggest in Israel’s history and titled “Give a Shoulder”, was pulled forward from a December 27 target date.
The first vaccine doses arrived in Israel a week ago, and the aim is to administer 60,000 jabs per day. Israel reached an agreement with Pfizer to supply eight million doses of its newly approved vaccine - enough to cover almost half of Israel’s population of nearly nine million since each person requires two doses.
Israel reached a separate agreement with Moderna earlier this month to buy six million doses of its vaccine - enough for another three million Israelis.