Jan 15, 2021
By Jane Brown
We are learning about the secrets to Israel’s COVID-19 vaccination success which is putting them ahead of every other country in the world.
Doctor Asher Salmon is the head of international relations for Israel’s Ministry of Health.
Speaking to a global virtual call of news outlets including Zoomer Radio/Classical FM, Dr Salmon explained they’ve been able to vaccinate more than 20-percent of their population to date in part because of a centralized system relying heavily on technology, “both to schedule appointments, so you could schedule appointments through a call centre but you could (also) do it through the internet or your cellular phone using your HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) app.”
(A man receives a coronavirus vaccine from medical staff at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday Jan. 6, 2021. AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Dr. Salmon says in some regions elderly people are also being contacted directly to set up their vaccine appointment.
He also says a prominent media campaign, called “Give A Shoulder” has been successful in getting the word out about how to register for a COVID-19 vaccine.
There has been some criticism that Israel is not vaccinating the Palestinians who go back and forth into Israel from the Palestinian Authority.
“We are vaccinating Israeli citizens,” Dr. Salmon explained, “that is basically what each country would do so in fact we have to first vaccinate our citizens. But at the same time, we are very much aware about a major effort (with the vaccine producers) which is being done for the Palestinians.”
He hopes the Palestinians neighbouring Israel will be the first Arab community to be fully vaccinated and ahead of some European countries.
In Israel, everyone over 60 is being offered the vaccine first.
Israel struck an agreement with Pfizer for 10 million doses of the vaccine, including a promise of shipments of up to 700,000 doses weekly in exchange for age, gender and medical history of those receiving the vaccine.