In order to secure the coronavirus vaccine for its people, Israel made a deal that leverages its population’s health data, which concerns some privacy experts there. But it’s helped the country give the first vaccine doses to more than a quarter of its population. Israel aims to be the first country to vaccinate most of its citizens, maybe in March. I asked Israel’s health minister Yuli Edelstein how Israel, a country of only 9 million, managed to get Pfizer’s vaccine so quickly. BOIGENMAN: We said to Pfizer that the moment they give us the vaccine, we’ll be able to vaccinate at a speed they’ve never heard of. ESTRIN: Israel promised to vaccinate its citizens fast and prove whether Pfizer’s vaccine can bring herd immunity.Israel is giving Pfizer access to the medical statistics of millions of its citizens to study how the vaccine works – a whole country as one big vaccine study. Ziv Ofek of the medical data company MDClone helped build Israel’s health database and says it gives researchers huge potential for studying the vaccine.
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