Fauci on Israel’s Superspeed Vaccine Rollout: ‘Model for Rest of World’

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci speaks during the daily briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on January 21, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said Israel’s coronavirus vaccine rollout is a “model for the rest of the world.”

“I can say without false flattery that Israel really did it right, but it also had the right sort of ingredients in its favor: the right size, the right health care system – everything was geared to be successful for what they did, and they did it really very well,” he said in phone call with Israeli reporters Thursday.

“To have over 80 in 100 people to receive a shot – the United States is somewhere around 18, just look at the difference there. Israel’s health system is quite uniform as a nation – perhaps due to size, location, and history,” says Fauci. “Despite differences Israelis have among themselves, when they need to pull together in an important task, they seem to do it very well.”

Some 4.3 million Israelis, which is close to 50 percent of the population, have received the first vaccine dose of the Pfizer vaccine and 2.9 million received both.

Fauci noted:

Israel has a remarkable diminution in cases associated with the efficiency of their vaccine. It is another example of the scientific data, starting to point to the fact that the vaccine is important not only for the health of the individual to protect them against infection and disease, but it also has very important implications from a public health standpoint for interfering and diminishing the dynamics of the outbreak.

He said while the U.S., “a country that I love,” has a good system in some respects, “when you’re dealing with a common enemy, you can have multiple ways of doing things and that’s one of the reasons we have not been as successful as we could have been thus far.”

“We have much more cooperation between the federal government and states, we have a couple of really good vaccines we’re deploying. Our big problem is that we’re such a big country with 330-plus million people. We have a real discrepancy between supply and demand.”

He said that as long as the U.S. vaccinates 70 to 85 percent in the coming months, it will be in the same position as Israel and “starting to see an effect on deaths and cases.”

Regarding Israel’s so-called “green passport” policy that would see limitations imposed on non-vaccinated people, Fauci said:

In the United States, it is very difficult to mandate something from above because of the culture of states’ independence…We’re [also] reluctant here to essentially infringe on the personal choices of people, and there’s a tension, but sometimes you have to mandate things in a crisis. So there’s a balance between encroachment on peoples’ rights, which no one wants to do, and the threat of the particular enemy that you’re dealing with – in this case, the virus.

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