UK to try to match Israeli speed in vaccine roll-out

Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi says Israel's 'four minutes per patient' average is now UK's target


The UK’s Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi has said the government is trying to match the speed of Israel’s Covid-19 immunisation drive.

Referring to the success of Israel’s vaccine roll-out, the minster said: “One of the things we have learned is the speed at which they can actually vaccinate people through the mass vaccination centres.

“We want to make sure that we get to similar speeds.

“They are doing it [at] about four minutes per patient and that's the sort of target we want to make sure we deliver on.

“At this stage it's a race against time. The more vaccine that can get into arms, quicker, the better.”

In a vaccination model that takes inspiration from the one launched by Israel, the government has unveiled seven giant vaccination centres across England to boost numbers and streamline the process.

This included three in the south-east, including one at the ExCel centre.

Downing Street has said that those over 80 can wait for appointments closer to where they live if they prefer.

On Monday the UK government confirmed that more than 2.4 million people in this country had now received the vaccine.

Israel has used its efficient healthcare system to launch a round-the-clock immunisation drive with military help.

The country is prioritising over-60s but also allows younger people to be vaccinated if they happen to be outside injection centres at the end of the day, when there may be surplus jabs available.

More than 100,000 Israelis between the ages of 20 and 40 have been vaccinated.

In Britain, a vaccine shortage has been blamed for the initial  slow roll-out of the jabs, despite new hubs and the hope of administering an injection every 45 seconds.

Mr Zahawi praised Israel’s efforts during an appearance on ITV’s Good Morning Britain show on Monday.

The Israeli embassy in London also confirmed that Health Secretary Matt Hancock had spoken with Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein to discuss best practices and future cooperation over vaccines.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens has also  referenced the Israeli programme, saying England’s geography meant that a mixed approach might work better here.

While Sir John Bell, regius chair of medicine at the University of Oxford, also urged the government to look at the model championed in Jerusalem, saying Israel’s experience with national emergencies may even have helped.

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