Israel on Sunday kicked off its coronavirus vaccination operation, as thousands of citizens over the age of 60 were invited to schedule an appointment at their local hospital or healthcare clinic and receive the recently manufactured Pfizer vaccine shot. The state-wide inoculation effort was launched with a prime-time event on Saturday night in which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein became the first Israelis to receive the vaccination, on live television. It is estimated that half a million doses are currently lying in Israeli deep freezers waiting to be administered to those first in line to receive them, and hospitals are reporting an overflow of requests from patients making reservations to get the shot. Yet until the mass inoculations take effect, the country is apparently headed for more difficult times, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, and deaths and serious cases pile up. The government on Sunday will in all likelihood agree on a third national lockdown, again shuttering schools, businesses and shopping centers. The nation’s only international airport is facing closure as well, as thousands of Israelis returning from Abu Dhabi, and tourists visiting from Britain and other countries where a new strain of COVID-19 is reported, have deeply concerned health officials.
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