Israel is considered a pioneer in vaccination: almost a quarter of the population has already received a first dose. Nevertheless, easing is a long way off: The number of new infections has reached a record high.
There are peaks in both the positive and the negative: On the one hand, Israel's vaccination campaign continues at an impressive pace. More than 2.2 million Israelis, just under a quarter of the total population, have already received the first of two vaccinations, and more than 400,000 of them have received the second.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is keeping a close eye on the parliamentary elections in mid-March and is sticking to his promise to allow all Israelis over the age of 16 to be vaccinated by the end of March: "I hope that we can vaccinate 200,000 people a day. So we will continue to gradually return to normal to come back."
Up to 10,000 new infections per day
But there can be no question of that at the moment. The country remains in a strict lockdown. Up to 10,000 people are infected with the coronavirus in little Israel every day - out of a population of nine million. A negative record.
Again, the minority of strictly religious Jewish Israelis is particularly affected. 30 percent of the positive corona cases in the past week were recorded in this group. At the same time, the willingness to vaccinate among the strictly religious and the Arab Israelis is lower than the average of the general population. Prime Minister Netanyahu knows that too: "In order to save many lives and get out of the crisis, the overall vaccination rate has to be high - especially among the Arab and ultra-Orthodox populations."
Low acceptance by ultra-Orthodox
Netanyahu is under domestic political pressure because his government is very lenient to the violations of corona conditions by the strictly religious. Many ultra-Orthodox Jews do not adhere to the mask requirement or rules of distance. Numerous religious schools are currently open, although this is forbidden. Even the fact that large weddings are prohibited did not prevent the ultra-Orthodox from celebrating them anyway - with thousands of participants in some cases.
The vaccine supply is now apparently stable. Moderna and BioNtech / Pfizer deliver. In return, Pfizer receives data from the Israeli vaccination campaign. The country has not published the price that Israel pays per vaccine dose. "Pfizer will be able to see the effects of vaccination - on the spread of the virus, '' the ability to open up public life and the economy," says Israeli Minister of Health Yuli Edelstein. " The effects on social life should also be understood and side effects can be observed.
Protection against infection only effective after a delay
There are already initial findings of the risk of infection after a vaccination: According to this, the first measurable protection against infection only occurs after 12 to 14 days and then increases. Of almost 190,000 Israelis in a test group, around 6.6 percent were still infected with corona after the vaccination, most of them in the first two weeks mentioned after the first vaccination dose. A few became infected after the second vaccination. The Israeli Ministry of Health emphasizes, however, that all findings so far are preliminary.