World's Best Run Vaccination Programme

The speed and efficiency with which Israel is protecting its citizens should serve as an inspiration to us all.

To get matters moving as swiftly as possible, Israel paid a premium for early delivery of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. By the middle of last week, it had succeeded in vaccinating a million people, one tenth of its population. The whole of Israel’s adult population will be vaccinated by March. In France, by contrast - a country of 67 million people - only around 600 people had been done by early last week.

Why is Israel so good at this? First: the army is in charge. Massive vaccination tents were immediately erected in city squares, full of staff, with orderly queues snaking towards booths and ticket machines spitting out a date and time of return for the second dose as people exit.

Second: a knack for “organised chaos”. Because supplies of the Pfizer vaccine must all be used up on the same day or binned, many Israelis without appointments have been given the vaccine, almost willy nilly. Better in than out, and hang the paperwork.

Fortunately, Britain has also called in its army to accelerate the vaccine roll-out. The military commander behind the lightning-fast construction of the NHS Nightingale hospitals is now leading the bid to speed up the UK's vaccine programme. Brigadier Phil Prosser of the Royal Logistics Corps has been embedded for weeks at the NHS headquarters in South London, working alongside the head of the jab task force. Taking a central role in the programme’s delivery, he's preparing to dispatch military “surge teams” to ensure the mass jab roll-out runs to timetable.