Israelis over the age of 40 are now eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine, the Health Ministry announced Tuesday, adding that it plans to expand the campaign to inoculate 250,000 people a day.On Monday, the country hit a record, vaccinating 186,000 people over the course of 24 hours. Some 114,000 people were given a second dose and another 72,000 a first dose.In total, 2.2 million Israelis have been inoculated, or 25% of the population, including 422,000 people who have had both doses, about 5%. Israel started its vaccination campaign on December 17. For the first few weeks, priority was given to medical staff, patients with preexisting conditions and people over the age of 60. But the Health Ministry has progressively expanded its criteria to include teachers and younger people. Over 76% of people over 60 and teachers have already received at least the first shot.In the past month, the country has established itself as a vaccination powerhouse. In exchange for medical data, the government persuaded the Pfizer pharmaceutical company to drastically increase the supply of coronavirus vaccine doses from what they had originally agreed upon.According to what was reported by Israeli media last week, Pfizer is set to provide between 400,000 and 700,000 doses every week.In spite of the success of the vaccination campaign, Israel is experiencing an unprecedented surge of cases. On Monday, it registered more than 10,000 positive cases, the worst daily tally ever. Some 1,114 people are in serious condition, and at last count, the death toll reached 4,049 after an increase of 40 deaths in 24 hours.Preliminary studies offer encouraging results about the effectiveness of the vaccine. People who received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine had a six- to 12-fold increase in the amount of antibodies produced to defend against the novel coronavirus, Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer reported Monday. However, according to experts, it is going to take some time before this results in a significant curb in morbidity, partially due to the highly contagious new variants of the virus.“Only when we are over 80% of adults inoculated, will the vaccine suppress the outbreak,” the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Prof. Eli Waxman said. “It is helping us to reduce the mortality rate and eventually will help us to control the disease.”Maayan Hoffman contributed to this report.