Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced on Wednesday night that the first coronavirus vaccines will be administered on December 27.
“It’s not to be taken for granted that Israel, which is … a small country with 9 million citizens should receive the vaccines at the same time as Britain and the leading countries in the world.”
A preliminary shipment arrived from Pfizer at Ben Gurion airport on Wednesday morning, and the prime minister was there to greet it.
“This is a great achievement for Israel, I am very proud of it,” he said.
“I ask all Israelis to get vaccinated,” says Netanyahu, adding that he’ll go first.
He said the country has the capacity to vaccinate 60,000 people a day.
Netanyahu repeated the incentive for those vaccinated that they will be given privileges, such as access to malls and other sites. A “green passport” will be awarded for the purpose.
Also on Wednesday, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said in a press conference that the coronavirus quarantine will be reduced to 10 days, provided the person had two negative tests.
Edelstein compared the vaccine to the Chanukah miracle. “Something that seemed like a dream … that we thought could happen in June, July” is happening now, he exclaimed.
Miracle or not, though, he called on Israelis not to gather during Chanukah, even though a night curfew which was approved by the coronavirus cabinet was canceled after legal difficulties arose.
“Soon, millions of additional vaccines will arrive, from Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and other companies,” he said.
“The more people get vaccinated, the more the economy can reopen,” he says, urging Israelis to get the shot.