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US started its drive almost a week before Israel

Israel has vaccinated 10 times more of its population, per capita, than the US

Jewish state is beating its inoculation goals, while Centers for Disease Control fails to get anywhere close to 20 million target of Trump administration

An Israeli receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Tel Aviv, December 31, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
An Israeli receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Tel Aviv, December 31, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

JTA — Israel has vaccinated about eight percent of its population against COVID-19, while the United States has vaccinated less than 1%, according to data reported by the two nations.

Israel’s Health Ministry said Thursday that the country had beaten its target of 150,000 daily inoculations for the second straight day. By Thursday morning, nearly 800,000 of its nearly 9 million citizens had received the first of the two doses involved in the Pfizer vaccine. The country was set to top the 1 million mark within 24 hours — more than 10% of the populace.

Israel’s Channel 12 News reported that a million doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine, which has not yet been used in Israel, are set to arrive next, far ahead of the March target date.

Meanwhile, frustration has mounted in the US, as the Centers for Disease Control reported this week that just over 2 million Americans have been given the first vaccine dose, far fewer than the 20 million targeted by President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed for 2020. Over 11 million doses have been shipped across the country.

Israel only started vaccinating on December 20 (a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu became the first vaccinee), with a focus on healthcare workers and then on over 60s and at-risk sectors. The US began its drive on December 14.

Related: Small wonder: How Israel rolled up its sleeves and became vaccination nation

In both countries, a lag in data reporting could be behind a skew in the numbers. But Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading infectious disease specialist in the US, expressed concern to CNN on Tuesday.

“Even if you undercount, 2 million as an undercount, how much undercount could it be?” Fauci said. “So we are below where we want to be.”

Both countries are also experiencing case surges. Israel, which has enacted a third nationwide lockdown, reported 5,809 new cases on Wednesday, its highest total since October. In the US, California has been particularly hard-hit, and the first cases of the new more contagious COVID-19 variant first found in the United Kingdom have been discovered.

ToI staff contributed to this article.

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