Why Israel has the highest Covid-19 vaccination rate in the world
Israel currently leads the world in vaccination rate per capita. According to the official statistics, Israel administers 30.14 doses per 100 people in the total population (this is counted as a single dose and may not equal the number of people vaccinated). If the vaccination continues at such a rate, Israel might as well become the first country in the world to achieve herd immunity. There are even cautious hopes that this might happen already by March.
There are multiple reasons for this phenomenon. First of all, Israel has capitalized on the already existing high-tech healthcare infrastructure. People can simply receive a text message from one of the health maintenance organizations with the necessary instructions to receive a vaccine. After receiving the first dosage, the second one is usually administered at the same time and place after three weeks. The infrastructure also provides useful tools for tracking vaccinated and unvaccinated parts of the population in addition to monitoring after-effects.
The second reason is largely connected to the efficiency and flexibility of its approach to vaccination. Israel has provided the opportunity to receive leftover doses for people not included in the defined priority groups. Respectively, everyone has a chance to show up at local immunization centers without a previous appointment and hope to snag a vaccine otherwise poised for spoiling and being tossed out. Moreover, Israel has given the green light to healthcare providers to extract additional doses of vaccine from a single vial. It is important since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has confirmed that some vials of Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine are overfilled and contain enough doses for up to seven people (instead of five).
The third reason is the superb logistical support in addition to geographic and demographic advantages. Israel has managed to transform many public places – cinemas, stadiums, theaters, cultural centers, and others into vaccination sites. Moreover, the relatively large population density means that people do not have to travel long distances to receive their shot. The relatively small population size also helps.
The most important reason, however, might as well be connected to the mentality of the people of Israel. It is necessary to understand that Israel has been used to exist in the state of crisis constantly, and the Covid-19 pandemic is just another challenge to tackle. In this situation, Israelis have once again shown their willingness to mobilize when necessary – as has been done many times in the past. It also seems that Israelis are keen on trusting the opinions of scientists and leading experts. This might be one of the reasons why disinformation and conspiracy theories, although strong in Israel, have not prevailed in the end.