Inside the Pais Arena in the ancient Israeli city of Jerusalem, nurse Elisheva Gasner is reporting on her shift regularly twice a week. Without serving a football match, the Pais Arena is now transformed into a giant COVID-19 vaccination center in the midst of a pandemic.
All Israelis will gather at the entrance of the stadium, keep a distance of 2 meters and swipe their insurance card to get their folding number. When they are called out, a masked guide will appear, escorting them to the vaccination counters inside.
Each injection booth will host one and only one Israeli citizen at a time. In it, a doctor and a nurse like Gasner will inject doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer / BioNTech into their biceps. The vaccinated person then continued to wear the mask home, kept social, continued to wash their hands frequently and waited until day 12, when the immune effects began to appear inside their bodies.
“We call the process an operation – like an army march“, Described Gasner.”Everything happened in an orderly manner, everyone felt excited and good. ”
Up to this point, Israel is still the leading country in the rate of vaccination against COVID-19 per capita in the world. Although their campaign only started on December 19, more than 20% of the population, or about 9 million Israelis, received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Every day, Israel maintains 150,000 people going to immunization centers across the country. Seniors over 60 years old and medical staff will be given priority. However, in an effort to avoid wasting any shots, all other Israelis will be vaccinated without waiting if they happen to come to the right clinic or site for the COVID vaccination campaign- 19 going on.
On the one hand, this Israeli strategy will help them accelerate the spread of vaccines to achieve proactive community immunity to COVID-19. On the other hand, committing to vaccinate all citizens will also avoid possible looting or competition for vaccines.
Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, said that the country he is leading has set a goal from now until the end of March to vaccinate all citizens over the age of 16. To this point, with more than 70% of the priority audience being seniors over 60 who have been vaccinated with COVID-19, they are expanding down to those over 50 and striving to achieve 170,000 injections each. day.
“We will be the first country in the world to get rid of the corona virus“Netanyahu said in a statement promoting the vaccination campaign of COVID-19 named countries “Back to life”. The Prime Minister himself set an example and injected both doses of Pfizer / BioNTech’s vaccine.
Israel is the leading country in the rate of vaccination against COVID-19 per capita in the world.
The pioneering morale, order but flexibility of a well-organized society are the factors that make Israel “Start-up country“Now, these same factors have supported them actively in their attempt to get out of the COVID-19 crisis.
Besides, Israel also has many favorable conditions to support. Small population size is one of them, plus modern health infrastructure – a digital system that tracks the health of the entire population. The responsiveness of the leadership system has also played a big part in the success of Israel so far.
“We are very good at coping with a crisis“Said Gabi Barbash, a public health specialist at the Weizmann Institute and honorary general manager of Israel’s Ministry of Health. “Our country is not good at long-term planning, but does a great job in dealing with the challenges that are ahead.”
In this article, let us look at the factors that have helped Israel lead the world in this COVID-19 vaccination campaign.
Digital transformation in Israel’s healthcare system
When Tali Prilutski, a 23-year-old social work student working at Hadassah Medical Center, phoned the hotline for the health worker and mentioned if she had been vaccinated with COVID-19. Or not, the planner on the other side of the line had scheduled her to go to the hospital at 2:53 p.m.
It is a minute-accurate appointment schedule. And since the second shot is exactly three weeks away from the first, “I know when I should go back”Prilutski said. “Same time and same place“Her phone will prompt for the schedule.
Prilutski says in Israel it’s very easy to schedule the COVID-19 vaccination. Everyone knows exactly what happens next and where they need to go. One big reason Israel is able to do this is that it has an extremely good medical infrastructure.
Israel has built a universal healthcare system: All of their citizens are enrolled in one of the four health maintenance organizations (HMOs) to receive care. The entire system is digitized and everyone has their own ID number.
This gives healthcare professionals easy access to their electronic records – and the simplest way to find all seniors 60 and older who are in current vaccination priority groups. .
The digitized HMO system also allows health care workers to update a person’s vaccination status, track any side effects that occur to them, and schedule an appointment for the next shot.
The HMO also appoints immunization sites nationwide, which are accessible and large enough to be able to get people out while maintaining social distance. Stadiums like the Pais Arena, where Gasner works in Jerusalem, or Rabin Square in central Tel Aviv have been converted into vaccination sites. Along with that are theaters and cultural centers scattered throughout the country.
Communication is also another important factor helping Israel organize the vaccination campaign. All early citizens received instructions on exactly where and when they should be present to receive their shots.
The digitization of the health system also means Israelis can use the same online health care service to get vaccination information, experts say. Usually, those are SMS messages over the general telephone network.
For older Israelis who have less exposure to technology, the HMO will organize care centers to call to remind them in person. Hagai Levine, an epidemiologist at the Hadassah School of Public Health at Hebrew University said:
“The idea we want to do is you get one dose of the vaccine, and one booster dose at the same time and place after three weeks. And to do that, you need notice. You will need a good communication system, like we do in hospitals and HMOs, you need to receive your appointment via SMS.
The vaccination schedule was set up automatically, and that is why Prilutski got a bashful appointment at exactly 2:53 pm.
IN Israel, everything is simple but flexible
One December while wandering on Facebook, Robbie Strazynski caught a series of selfies of friends showing they had been vaccinated with COVID-19. Obviously, these friends are only approximately 40 years old and are not among the preferred subjects, Strazynski thought.
Without hesitation, he texted them asking them and expressed his wish for an injection for himself. Strazynski’s friends showed how they were vaccinated with COVID-19. Accordingly, he just needs to go to a vaccination site, wait in line there and see if by the end of the day they have an extra dose of vaccine?
If so, the opportunity will come to the most patient people.
Israel has a rule for its COVID-19 vaccination campaign: Do not waste a single dose of vaccine.
We know Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine must be stored at minus 70 ° C. Vaccine delivery requires a “cold chain“is complicated to preserve its pharmacodynamics. Before use, the vaccine must be thawed and refrigerated at about 2 to 8 ° C. The shelf life after thawing should not exceed 120 hours.
The vials must then be diluted before they can be used and if they are not used, the dose of the vaccine will have to be destroyed after 6 hours. That means, basically, you have to take it or lose it.
For the limited time before COVID-19 vaccine is destroyed, one will need to find the nearest person at the vaccination site to receive it, even if it is not a priority. And that was an opportunity for Strazynski when he was only 39 years old.
On 1 January 2021, Strazynski followed friends who had lined up early at a COVID-19 vaccination site in the Karnei Shomron settlement, West Bank of Israel. He was 36th in a long line of hundreds of young people present.
Luckily, only 2 and a half hours later, Strazynski was called in. The site had a lot of vaccines at this site and he got one shot instead of waiting 12 hours like many others. Strazynski also received an appointment for a second booster dose exactly three weeks later.
It is also a rule in Israel’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign: Anyone who has received the first vaccination will be sure to receive a second booster, to ensure the protective effect of vaccination over 95% of the population as many as possible.
Strazynski is not the only one waiting for his lucky opportunity. On Facebook and WhatsApp in Israel, groups have been formed to share tips and places where participants can get expiring doses of vaccines.
Michal Cotler-Wunsh, a member of the Knesset (Israel parliament) said: “We are implementing a zero waste policy. So, literally, a nurse, with 10 vaccines left, can yell at the pizza guy or the guy at the bus stop and say, ‘Hey man, come in here and take One dose of vaccine “‘.
But to do this, once again, Israel has benefited from building a universal health tracking digital system. That means as soon as you show your ID card and swipe it at the vaccination booth, whether you are anyone, the person at the bus stop, the pizza deliverer or just taking your grandmother to the vaccination. , when you receive an expiring dose of COVID-19, you are also immediately logged into the follow-up program and scheduled to be rescheduled in 3 weeks.
Levine says: “For a vaccination campaign we have been thoroughly prepared, but we are also very flexible. When planning, you will not know a lot of things such as what the cold chain will look like, you will How many vaccines. So you need to adjust quickly. And we are good at that. ”
Refer to Vox