12 percent of Israelis have already been vaccinated. The rate of vaccination is the fastest in the world, and has given political lift to the country's embattled leader.

More than 12 percent of Israel's population has received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, a rate that has far outstripped the rest of the world and buoyed the battered domestic image of of the country's leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, at a critical juncture.

Israel campaign, which began Dec 20, has distributed the vaccine to more than three times as much of its population as the second-fastest nation, the tiny Persian Gulf Kingdom of Bahrain, according to figures compiled mostly from local government sources by Our World in Data.

By contrast, a little more than 1 percent of the population of the United States and only small fractions of the population in many European countries received a vaccine dose by the end of 2020, according to Our World in Data, though China, the United States and Britain have each distributed more doses all over.

''It's quite an astonishing story,'' said Prof. Ran Balicer, the chairman of the national advisory team of eexperts that is counseling the Israeli government on its Covid-19 response.

Israel's heavily digitized, community-based health system - all citizens by law, must register with one of the country's four health maintenance organizations - and its centralized government have proved adept at orchestrating a national inoculation campaign, according to Israeli health experts.

With a population of nine million, Israel's relatively small size has played a role as well, said Professor Balicer, who is also the chief innovative officer for Clalit, the largest of the country's four H.M.O's.

An aggressive procurement effort helped set the stage.

The health minister, Yuli Edelstein, said in an interview last week that Israel had entered into negotiations with drug makers as an ''early bird,'' and that the companies were interested in supplying Israel because of its H.M.O.'s reputation for efficiency and gathering reliable data.

''We are leading the world race thanks to our early preparations,'' he said.

The World Students Society thanks author Isabel Kershner.


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