Israel on Thursday said it would further expand its ongoing COVID-19 inoculation drive to include people belonging to the age group of 35 years or older. The Director-General of the Israeli Health Ministry, General Hezi Levy, announced on January 28 that the country is expanding its vaccination campaign to include people aged 35 years or older. This comes as the country records a massive surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths despite the ongoing restrictions to curb the spread of the disease.
Israel has already administered COVID-19 vaccines to more than 4.35 million of its 9 million people, which is more than 50%, the highest in the world in terms of per capita. The COVID-19 vaccination in the country started earlier last month after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein became the first to be inoculated. The country has recorded more than 6,21,000 cases and a little over 4,600 deaths to date.
Israel began inoculating its people in December after the country gave approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Weeks later Israel approved Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine. Israel has reportedly struck a deal with Pfizer-BioNTech under which it will provide citizens' vaccination data to the companies in exchange for 10 million doses, 4,00,000-7,00,000 doses every week, enough to inoculate its entire population.
Israel started by prioritising health care workers and the elderly in the first week of its vaccination drive. The country then expanded the programme to include teens aged 16-18 in order to help them return back to the classrooms. This came as Israel extended the COVID-19 lockdown until the end of this month over a surge in new cases and deaths. Israel has already banned all non-essential international travel following the detection of new variants in the United Kingdom and South Africa.
(Image Credit: AP)