The country that has vaccinated four times the proportion of its population as any other

George Martin
·3-min read
A healthcare worker prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine to an Israeli woman at Clalit Health Services, in the coastal city of Tel Aviv, on January 3, 2021. - Israel said two million people will have received a two-dose COVID-19 vaccination by the end of January, since the start on December 19, of an aggressive push to administer the vaccine made by US-German pharma alliance Pfizer-BioNTech. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
A healthcare worker prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine to an Israeli woman at Clalit Health Services, in Tel Aviv. (Getty)

Israel is striding ahead in the global race to vaccinate against COVID-19 after vaccinating four times the proportion of people as any other country.

The country is aiming to reach all vulnerable citizens by late January after authorities started on 19 December using the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

On Tuesday, Israel's health ministry authorised a third vaccine - developed by US drugmaker Moderna Inc in the hopes of speeding up its vaccine programme even more.

"Ministry of Health of Israel has secured 6 million doses and first deliveries (are) expected to begin in January," Moderna said in a statement on Monday.

Israelis arrive to receive a vaccine against the COVID-19 coronavirus at Clalit Health Services, in the coastal city of Tel Aviv, on January 3, 2021. - Israel said two million people will have received a two-dose COVID-19 vaccination by the end of January, since the start on December 19, of an aggressive push to administer the vaccine made by US-German pharma alliance Pfizer-BioNTech. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
Israelis arrive to receive a vaccine. (Getty)

According to figures compiled by Our World in Data, Israel is currently leading the world table for the proportion of its population which has been vaccinated.

A remarkable 14.4 people per 100 in the total population have so far been given the jab, compared to 3.62 per 100 in second-placed Bahrain.

The UK is currently third on the list, with 1.39 people per 100 having received either the Pfizer or the Oxford vaccine.

On Tuesday, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said the NHS was working "24/7" to ensure 13 million people are vaccinated by the middle of February.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said: "We know that we've vaccinated one million people up to the weekend.

"We're increasing the numbers this week and we're hoping, as the prime minister outlined, to reach just over 13 million in February."

Watch: Hancock gives thumbs up when asked about vaccine rollout

In a TV address announcing the third national lockdown for England on Monday, Boris Johnson said officials were hoping for all people in the top four priority groups to have been offered a jab in the coming weeks.

Speaking from Downing Street, Johnson outlined the NHS's "realistic expectations" for the vaccination programme in the coming weeks.

He said: "By the middle of February, if things go well and with a fair wind in our sails, we expect to have offered the first vaccine dose to everyone in the four top priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation."

Theoretically, this means that all people over the age of 70 should expect to have a vaccination soon, as well as healthcare staff and others who are vulnerable.

Top of the priority list are people who live and work in care homes, followed by people over the age of 80 and frontline health and social care workers - including NHS staff.

Next on the list are people over the age 75, and the fourth group are people aged 70 and those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable.

It comes as France has come under fire for the slow pace of its vaccination rollout compared to European neighbours.

Despite receiving the vaccine in December, France only delivered 516 vaccines during the first week.

The French government blamed the slow start to rules which demand that only a doctor or a nurse under the direct supervision of a doctor inject the vaccine and have promised to slash red tape to aid the rollout.

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