How Israel took the lead on vaccinations

It's a small, wealthy country with a universal healthcare system.

That largely explains how Israel has become a world leader in the COVID-19 vaccination drive.

It's inoculated 15% of the country’s 9.3 million population in about two weeks.

The plan? Order early, pay a lot, and digitize distribution.

The first big decision was paying a premium to get early vaccines.

Israeli authorities have not publicly said what they paid for the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

But one official claimed it was about $30 per vaccine dose -- twice the price elsewhere.

Pfizer said in a statement that it uses "a tiered pricing formula based on volume and delivery dates" but declined to give further details.

The next step was becoming a model.

Israel offered the pharmaceutical companies a quick rollout that could serve as a template for the rest of the world, promising swift results from a small country with a digitized distribution network.

But their vaccination campaign has not been without criticism and hurdles.

Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip face a long wait for vaccines.

Health officials estimate they will begin receiving doses in February through the World Health Organization.

Netanyahu's opponents also accuse his right-wing Likud Party of using the vaccination campaign for political gain ahead of a March 23 election.

They say he lacks a clear long-term strategy for dealing with the impact of COVID-19 - charges the government denies.

Israel is in its third lockdown and faces a recession and high unemployment, though it has avoided the shortages and bottlenecks faced by other countries.