As Israel’s inoculation drive gets underway, the first Covid-19 vaccine was administered at Sheba Medical Center to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as reported by multiple news outlets, including the Jewish Press website. Shortly after, Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein was the second to be vaccinated during the same live broadcast event.
“This is a very great day for the State of Israel … By the end of the month, there will be millions of vaccines here, and additional millions will come afterward,” said the Prime Minister moments before becoming one of the first world leaders to receive the vaccine. In an update about an hour later, Netanyahu added: “I feel great; go get vaccinated. We are emerging from the darkness of the coronavirus into a great light. I want to thank the Health Minister, the Ministry of Health, all of the medical crews, Magen David Adom, the volunteers, everybody.”
Following clinical trials indicating 95% effectiveness, the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA COVID-19 vaccine was given emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration on December 11. An Israeli inoculation campaign began around a week later, on December 19, with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s vaccination. More than a million Israelis have since received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The Israeli healthcare system’s success in vaccinating more than 10 percent of the population in a brief period — described as “astonishing” by the British Telegraph newspaper and reported in leading news outlets such as the New York Times — garnered widespread international acclaim and received extensive attention from the press.