Israel says it has vaccinated 1 million people against Covid-19, more than a tenth of its population, as it rolls out one of the world’s earliest and most rapid inoculation campaigns.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was on hand when the millionth Israeli received a vaccination in the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm.
He called it a moment of “great excitement.”
Arabs, who make up around 20% of Israel’s population, have been slow to embrace the vaccination campaign.
They have Israeli citizenship and the right to vote but face discrimination in housing and other areas, contributing to widespread mistrust of authorities.
Netanyahu said “it’s important for me that the Arab population in Israel will get vaccinated quickly,” because “it’s saving lives.”
He delivered the same message at a vaccination center in Tira, another Arab town, on New Year’s Eve.
Our World in Data, a collaboration between researchers at the University of Oxford and the non-profit group Global Change Data Lab, shows Israel leading the world in per capita vaccinations.
Israel is currently in its third nationwide lockdown to contain the outbreak.
It currently has more than 40,000 active cases and has reported 3,338 deaths since the pandemic began.