Had Israel not embarked on its unprecedented vaccination campaign, 12,000 citizens would have lost their lives to the coronavirus, according to a model presented by pediatrician and epidemiologist Professor Eli Somech at a meeting on Wednesday of the Health Ministry’s epidemiology department.

To date, half that number, 6,346 people, have succumbed to the virus in Israel.

Somech’s model relies on the number of daily deaths from COVID-19 in Italy ahead of the vaccination campaign there, around 400, which—given the size of the European country’s population, is equivalent to 50 daily deaths in Israel.

Israel currently has 2,019 active cases of COVID-19, 173 of which are serious. Of those in serious condition, 102 are on ventilators.

Of the 544,443 people who tested for the virus on Wednesday, 148 were found to be positive, for an infection rate of 0.3 percent.

The country’s reproduction rate now stands at 0.75.

Nearly 5 million Israelis, accounting for 80 percent of the country’s population aged 16 and above, have received both doses of Pfizer-BIONtech’s coronavirus vaccine.

Earlier this week, Israel signed a deal with Pfizer and Moderna for 18 million additional doses of their vaccines. Israel and Pfizer also agreed on the option to purchase millions more, if needed. The vaccines purchased and signed for will be tailored to stand up against variants.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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