Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said on Monday that Israel was approaching 100,000 COVID-19 vaccinations per day and vowed to increase the rate even further.

“So far, we have vaccinated 379,000 people, said Edelstein, as Israel began the second week of its coronavirus vaccination campaign. “This is thanks to the amazing work of the Health Ministry, HMOs, hospitals and more.”

“And, most of all, thanks to you, the citizens of Israel, that you get involved and get vaccinated. We will continue like this, and we will also increase the pace even further,” he added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday said that the country would hit its target of about 150,000 vaccinations either this week or next. Within a month after hitting that target, he said, Israel will have vaccinated nearly 2.3 million people.

“There’s nothing like this in the world, he said, noting that this first phase of the vaccination campaign is the most critical because it addresses the sectors of the population at the greatest risk from the virus.

Israel’s per capita vaccination rate is already the highest in the world, according to Our World in Data, a scientific online publication whose research team is based at the University of Oxford in England.

According to Edelstein, one reason for this is that Israel is the first country to repack the vaccines, which must be kept refrigerated, and transport them to remote areas, ensuring maximum accessibility.

Health Ministry Director General Hezi Levy said that solving the issue of safe transportation of the vaccines “allows us to vaccinate in small and remote places, nursing homes and care facilities.”

This is required, said Levy, “to accomplish the task we have set: to vaccinate large numbers of people at a rapid pace.”

Edelstein said on Sunday in response to a request from Center for Regional Councils chairman Shai Hajjaj that “vaccine vans would soon be operating in the country’s periphery. In addition, he said, 150 more vaccination complexes will be opened across the country, in recognition of the importance of providing vaccinations to those at risk who cannot reach the main vaccination facilities.

There were 3,498 new COVID-19 cases recorded in Israel over the past 24 hours, putting the total number of active cases at 35,591, according to Health Ministry data. The infection rate was 4.9 percent on Sunday. There are currently 590 people listed in serious condition and 177 in critical condition due to the disease. The pandemic’s death toll stands at 3,226.

The country entered its third nationwide coronavirus lockdown on Sunday.

JNS

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