While there are have been many questions that are hard to answer over the past year like who should I vote for in the 2020 elections? Yes, or no to masks? What are we doing with today’s climate change? Or even which Zoom session should I log into on IC (another really hard question). And yet in the last month, another big and probably one of the hardest to answer is to be vaccinated; yes or no?
Since the COVID-19 pandemic has started, the chase to find the solution to COVID, the vaccine, has begun too. After almost 10 months since the beginning of the pandemic, finally, Pfizer, and other companies achieved the yearning solution. Ironically it seemed as if some people took a step back and got really hesitant and more questions have popped up. Are there any side effects? What about teens and pregnant women? How do we know if the vaccine really works? But one country, Israel, did not seem to take a step back. Israel launched its COVID-19 vaccination campaign on December 20th while preparations began a few months earlier. Over the course of 2020, Israel signed vaccine purchase contracts with several pharmaceutical companies. On December 11, Israel already had contracts in place with Pfizer to purchase and receive a substantial amount of vaccines.
As of today, Israel has the highest rate of vaccinators in the world along with sufficient stock with vaccines for the entire population. Why is that? The main answer is Israel’s health care system. While in the United States and other countries you can choose to have health insurance, in Israel it is mandatory. That means that in your lifetime all your hospital/clinic visits, different diseases you may have had, all of your personal records, and more are saved into one IT system. This fact helps the vaccine company to test the vaccine efficiency for each sector: teens, pregnant women, people with different health backgrounds, etc. In addition, the vaccine is given complementary, and the health company can control and address each of their insured clients to make sure the plan is executed efficiently.
So how did the campaign work? After some thoughts the plan was clear. First, the elderly people who are more in danger would get the vaccine, 60 years old and older (including all 4 of my grandparents!). Then age groups of 40-50 years old, and after that the younger citizens could get it too. In Israel, you don’t have to get the vaccine if you don’t want to, but with the upcoming benefits that are called “the green card,” only people who have got 2 of the doses of vaccines would be allowed to go to the mall, visit other countries, sit in restaurants and more. Also, in order to make the citizens get the vaccine, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has shown the citizens on live news that he got the vaccine hoping others would go too.
I must say that after both my parents and grandparents have gotten the vaccine, and I felt like a rock has been lifted off my heart. I originally was unsure whether the vaccine would work or not but living with the idea they are a little safer now, has made me so relieved. In order to get the vaccine, all you need to do is schedule an appointment with an app in your mobile phone.
Some of the stats of Israel since the vaccination campaign began:
• Days since the campaign has started: 30 days (the campaign started on December 12, 2020)
• The number of people who have got the first dose: 3,426,415 citizens.
• The number of people who have got the first and the second dose: 2,015,108 citizens.
• Global comparison: Israel is in 1st place for vaccines given to every 100 people.
• The vaccine begins to significantly reduce infection on the 14th day after the first dose.
The pandemic and the vaccination campaign are still going, and we have a long way to go. I will be waiting to get my second dose of the COVID vaccine in just one week! I obviously can’t make you go get the vaccine, but I can encourage you to and tell you to please stay safe and wear your masks so we can get to meet next year at IC face to face and not through computer screens.
Roni Maman is a BBG from Maccabi Tzair: Gedera and is 16 years old.
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