UK aiming for 'four minutes per vaccination patient' as it tries to emulate Israel

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·2-min read
General manager of Covid Recovery Becky Board administers the hospital's first Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to George Dyer, 90, in The Vaccination Hub at Croydon University Hospital, south London, on the first day of the largest immunisation programme in the UK's history. Care home workers, NHS staff and people aged 80 and over began receiving the jab this morning.
The UK is going to aim at four minutes per patient for vaccinations in a bid to speed up immunisation. (PA)

A target to spend just four minutes vaccinating each person has been set by a minister as Israel sets the pace for rapid immunisation.

About 1.8 million Israelis have been given a COVID-19 vaccine, out of a population of 9 million – meaning one in five have been jabbed.

England has given one or two doses to around 1.96 million people, out of a population of 56 million, according to provisional figures published by NHS England.

Israel jabbed its first person, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on 19 December, a week and a half after the UK gave its first dose on 8 December. The nation aims to have its whole population immunised by the end of March.

The UK’s vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said Israel’s success is down to a rapid turnaround in injections.

He told Good Morning Britain: “One of the things we have learned is the speed at which they can actually vaccinate people through the mass vaccination centres.

“We want to make sure that we get to similar speeds of being able to vaccinate through mass vaccination centres.

“They are doing it (at) about four minutes per patient and that’s the sort of target we want to make sure we deliver on.

“At this stage it’s a race against time. The more vaccine that can get into arms, quicker, the better.”

The UK is aiming to give 14 million vulnerable people the vaccine by mid-February as it bids to free itself from coronavirus lockdowns, including a third lockdown for England.

The British army is helping the NHS and councils with setting up the vaccination network.

Watch: Why does Israel have the fastest vaccine rollout?

Israel’s approach has informed the UK government’s approach to “high throughput” facilities, which allow for lots of people to receive a dose, Zahawi said.

Among these are the seven new mass vaccination centres in England, with more due to be opened.

Many more shots will be available to the government now the Moderna COVID jab has joined those of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech on the UK’s approved list.

TOPSHOT - Israeli Prime Minister Minister Benjamin Netanyahu receives the second dose of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, near the coastal city of Tel Aviv, on January 9, 2021. (Photo by Miriam ALSTER / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MIRIAM ALSTER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu receives the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine near Tel Aviv. (Miriam Alster/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Speaking to Sky News, Israel’s health minister Yuli Edelstein recommended authorities “get out there” to deliver vaccines.

“Don’t put a huge station in the middle of your capital and wait for people to come... Try to get it out to – if not to their homes – then at least to their areas; to the suburbs, to their towns,” he said.

However, Israel has been criticised for reportedly not providing the vaccine to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

Watch: What is long COVID?