Widespread vaccination is being credited for helping Israel reduce its rate of COVID-19 infection, with the crowning achievement being a day free of deaths attributed to the virus for the first time since last June. That same day, only 0.04% of tests administered turned up positive. Just days before, the country passed the 5 million mark in vaccinations, meaning nearly 54% of the population—and 80% of those over age 16—had gotten at least one COVID-19 shot. The Israeli Health Ministry announced that the next phase of their programs is to start vaccinating children 12 to 15 years-of-age. At that point, they predict that they will have achieved herd immunity and avoid the need to vaccinate younger children. The fact that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just softened its recommendations by suggesting that fully immunized people can gather safely together outdoors without masks or social distancing is a sign that we’re also heading in the right direction. Israel’s experience should serve as both an example and motivation for both urgent care providers and patients to continue their commitment to vaccination, with the eventual payoff being a death rate of zero and a return to something close to what we used to call “normal.”

Israel’s COVID-19 Death Toll Was Zero Last Thursday. Is the U.S. Heading for That Day?