Israel is the world champion of vaccination against Covid-19 but also of confinements since this country of 9 million inhabitants is in its third since the start of the epidemic. Hotels, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, museums are closed. It is also forbidden to go more than a kilometer from home, to receive or go to people. Schools have closed, reopened, then closed again, there has been a lot of debate on this issue. We telecommute as much as possible, anyone arriving from abroad is placed in a fortnight at home.
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This confinement should last at least until January 30, according to the Minister of Health. For Hervé Bercovier, professor of micro-biology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the situation is still difficult. “We have more than 9,000 cases per day, around 40 deaths daily and this will increase further in the next eight days, he explains. People were tired of these measures, economically and psychologically. There, you have to make an effort. People have the impression that if we make an effort for another two weeks to three weeks, we risk passing the course, and no longer having confinement. “ Confinement is respected in the country, it can be seen and it gets along with much less cars passing in the streets.
To get over it, Israel launched an impressive vaccination campaign thanks to a decentralized and agile health system. We started with the over 70s and the exposed professions then we went down in age. In 24 days, more than 20% of Israelis, two million people, were vaccinated like David: “I’m 51. Today they said in the newspaper that anyone over 50 can get the vaccine, and I had an appointment within two hours. I’m excited, not worried! “
In the vaccination center installed in the huge hall of the Jerusalem congress center, people prick from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Head nurse Idith Wolf is very proud: “I think we have a very good public health system in general. We put together the teams very quickly. We received all the equipment in two or three days. We worked non-stop and we want to help everyone. . “ The nurse hesitates, then continues: “We must always be prepared for a terrorist attack and all of our emergency services are always ready. We train all the time.”
Vaccination is managed by the koupot holim, the four sickness funds inherited from the socialist system of Israel’s early years. There is not a single social security as in France but you must join one of these funds financed by employee and employer contributions. The funds have local dispensaries all over this small country. Their network is very dense and they know their patients very well thanks to the digital medical record. “Everything happens in the computers of each fund but it is centralized by the Ministry of Health who knows exactly what is happening, says Gail, nurse in charge of administration. We convene by SMS and WhatsApp, we have an application, and we also call people on the phone. We are already on the second dose and we are awaiting the green passport from the ministry which will say that you have had two doses. “
According to the Israeli Ministry of Health, 14 days after receiving the first dose, the risk of infection of the vaccinated person decreases by 50%. For Professor Bercovier, this exceptional mobilization is typical of Israeli society: “When it comes to doing things in the long term, we are not very good. But when it comes to specific projects, the Israeli society is recovering very good. Here things are very simple, it was considered an emergency vaccination. People are asked if they agree orally and they are vaccinated. ”
“The anti-vaccine movement in Israel is quite large. Fortunately, for this epidemic the Minister of Health and Justice has asked Facebook and various platforms to shut down the sites of the anti-vaccine groups.”Herve Bercovier
There remains the financial cost of this vaccination campaign. As early as November Benyamin Netanyahu negotiated with Pfizer, which saw Israel as an excellent showcase. According to channel 13, Israel paid its doses 40% more expensive than in the United States, 262 million euros in total according to the calculations of public radio for which it remains profitable because it is equivalent to the economic losses of two days of confinement !