Poll: Only 44% of Israelis Plan to Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19

YERUSHALAYIM -
The DHL freight plane transporting the first batch of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine lands at the Ben Gurion International Airport last week. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

Only 44% of Israelis say they plan to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a Yisrael Hayom poll published Sunday.

On the other extreme, over one-third of Israelis, 37%, say they would not get vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to the poll.

The older the respondent, the more likely they were to say they planned to be inoculated. Among respondents 65 and older, 63% said they would get vaccinated, while 20% said they would refuse the vaccine. Among 50-to-64-year-olds, 49% said they would receive the vaccine, while 32% said they wouldn’t get inoculated.

Less than half of 30- to 50-year-olds surveyed, 42%, said they would get vaccinated. Among 18- to 30-year-olds, just 34% said they would get vaccinated, 48% said they would refuse.

At 57%, secular Jews were the most likely to say they would get inoculated, followed by national-religious Jews at 43%, and traditional Jews at 38%.

The survey found that just 35% of Israel’s Christian and Muslim Arab population and 26% of its chareidi population said that they would get vaccinated.

When it comes to mask-wearing and social distancing, however, 93% of Israelis said they adhere to Health Ministry guidelines compared to 4% who said they did not.

Israel received its first shipment of 3,000-4,000 Pfizer coronavirus vaccines on Wednesday and is set to begin inoculating citizens later in December.

The Health Ministry has yet to launch a campaign aimed at encouraging the general public to get vaccinated, preferring to focus its efforts on medical workers at this time. In the meantime, both the Israel Pediatric Association and the Israel Society for Infectious Diseases have been involved in efforts to educate the public on the benefits of the vaccine.

The survey of 525 individuals was carried out by the Maagar Mochot research institute.

Israeli health officials are mulling a plan to launch the country’s nationwide vaccination program a week early as the number of new cases continue to spike.

The Health Ministry said it will be holding a discussion with hospital representatives and medical workers on Sunday over the issue in light of the FDA final approval of COVID-19 vaccine produced by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

The new plan calls for a nationwide rollout on December 20, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu saying up to 60,000 people a day will be inoculated.

The original rollout date was set for December 27 after the first batch of Pfizer’s treatment, said to be 95% effective against the deadly disease, arrived in Israel last week.

Health Ministry Director General Chezy Levy said that although the vaccine developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech still needs government approval, he believes that decision will be announced in the coming days.

“A few more regulatory things need to be determined regarding the vaccines that arrived here and we’re preparing to begin vaccinating in the coming days, maximum next week,” Levy told Army Radio.

Levy also said that he was optimistic that by “summer everyone will be immunized.”

In the meantime, a report by the IDF’s Intelligence Corps published Sunday morning estimates that the vaccination campaign against coronavirus will not have an effect on the infection rate in the country until the end of winter.

The government is preparing for a scenario in which citizens will begin to lower their guard following the arrival of the vaccinations, and set a threshold of 2,500 daily infections in which the state will impose “tightened restraints,” a set of limitations, and possibly a general full lockdown if the morbidity rate does not decrease as a result of the limited restrictions.