COVID-19 vaccine campaign: Israel, Italy - a tale of 2 countries - opinion

It is thought that in Italy, the vaccine rollout is among the worst.

A WOMAN receives a dose of the Moderna COVID vaccine at the Music Auditorium in Rome last month. (photo credit: YARA NARDI / REUTERS)
A WOMAN receives a dose of the Moderna COVID vaccine at the Music Auditorium in Rome last month.
(photo credit: YARA NARDI / REUTERS)
 Israel has proven to be an example for the whole world. The small democracy of the Middle East has once again demonstrated all its qualities with the coronavirus emergency, but especially with its solution: the vaccine roll out.
In Italy, the situation seems to have improved very little since the arrival of the vaccine. In many Italian locales, the supply of vaccine is already finished. There are many inconveniences in the vaccination centers, where delays follow one after another: an endless waiting on line and the severe shortage of shots, which seriously slows down the vaccination campaign.
The situation has also worsened after the doubts raised concerning the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is at present not offered in Israel. The shot was reportedly taken off the market because it was considered dangerous and put back on the market a few days later. Citizens were very frightened by the doubt that arose at the ministry of health in Italy.
It is thought that in Italy, the vaccine roll out is among the worst.
The staggered arrival of vaccines – in parallel with Big Pharma largely defaulting on deliveries – has contributed to a disorganized start of the roll out, one that is especially unfair in terms of priority in vaccinations.
The current Italian government has contributed to this disaster, as it has underestimated the logistical problem and relied on a bureaucracy that has always been disorganized in the execution of its institutional functions.
In addition, anti-vaxxers have had a role in this disaster, with their more or less hidden propaganda, a mix of vague conspiracy and ignorance. Everyone is free not to vaccinate, but is not free to infect others. 
In Israel, the situation is quite different.
A study conducted by Clalit Health Services was able to replicate the same lab-based efficacy of the vaccine in the real world, with a reduction by 94% of symptomatic infections and 92% of serious forms of disease. In the study, researchers compared about 600,000 vaccinated people perfectly matched (by age, sex and clinical conditions) with another 600,000 who had not received the vaccine; precisely because of this, unlike aggregated studies on large-scale populations, allows extrapolation of information on the effectiveness of the vaccine itself, separate from those of other measures, such as lockdown. Indirectly, however, even the trend of serious cases and hospitalizations in the populations most at risk, the older ones, can give some clues, more than that of infections (since the peak of 8,000 per day during the third wave, daily infections are about 4,000 in the country).
It has not been an easy process. The vaccination campaign has required, predictably, a good dose of logistics, experts admit. Relying on a highly digitized process, which made it easy to identify who was prioritized to receive the vaccination, certainly helped, experts explained, adding how a clear and transparent system of communication about the viable population (starting with the age criteria, as well as the class of healthcare personnel) certainly helped the campaign itself.
On April 18, Israel lifted the obligation to wear a  mask outdoors, a dream that in Italy will come true perhaps in a year. The secret? An excellent vaccination campaign. The vaccinations have been fast and precise, and only one type of shot was used.
It is hoped that Italy too can soon get out of this situation and take example from Israel.
The agreement struck between Israel and the vaccine producer Pfizer was fundamental to its success, allowing the country to be one of the first to receive so many vaccines. Italy, being part of the European Union, has been forced to wait a lengthy amount of time for the consent of all EU states.
The difference in the management of the situation is obvious. Certainly, the geographical size of the state has influenced a lot the success of the vaccination Israeli campaign, but one can say that Italy will come out of this nightmare much later and much more tried than Israel. The whole world, and especially Europe, has much to learn from the small Mediterranean state.
The writer is a student at Bar-Ilan University.