Last-Second Switch in Netanyahu’s Vaccination

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gives his jacket to his son Avner before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine on Motzei Shabbos. The PM’s personal physician Dr. Tzvi Berkowitz, who administered the shot, is seen at left. (REUTERS/Amir Cohen/Pool)

All went according to plan at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏’s historic anti-Covid inoculation, except for one detail:

The nurse who had prepared the shot and was about to administer it was replaced at the last moment by Netanyahu’s personal physician, Dr. Tzvi Berkovitz, on Motzei Shabbos.

Shoshi Gomel told Channel 12 news that she was “excited to be chosen help bring Israel into a new era without the coronavirus,” but then the syringe was taken from her hands after she had filled it with the vaccine.

“Even though [Dr. Berkovitz] stood next to me and saw the dose, it is against the protocol of our hospital,” Gomel said, explaining that the person who fills the syringe must administer the vaccine.

“Maybe [Netanyahu] trusted him more…he has received other vaccines from him in the past,” she suggested, or maybe the Shin Bet security agency required that the prime minister’s own doctor administer the vaccine.

Gomel said that she was not insulted by being replaced without warning. “He took the pressure off me,” she said.

Berkovitz reported on Sunday that the prime minister is in “excellent” condition, with no symptoms or side effects,” according to Ynet.

Anti-vaccine activists have been disseminating video footage of the event, which they claim shows Sheba’s Director General Yitzchak Kreiss about to say the world ‘placebo’ as he asked for the vial containing the vaccine, but quickly corrected himself.

However, a careful viewing reveals that Kreiss used the letter “F” and not “P,” confusing the English term for ‘Flask’ with the Hebrew ‘Bakbukon‘, correcting himself in the end, accordint to Arutz Sheva.

Meanwhile, there was a minor controversy surrounding vaccination priorities, as some Israeli officials were getting shots even though they are under 60, the age group which is supposed to be inoculated ahead of the rest of the population, as they are at higher risk.

“It was right for the prime minister, president and health minister to be vaccinated first to create public trust in the vaccine, and they are also all over the age of 60,” said Likud minister Zeev Elkin, himself 49. “But skipping in the vaccine line under the umbrella of a PR push for the vaccines only harms public trust.”

Elkin said that while it made sense to immediately vaccinate all ministers, lawmakers, top army brass and mayors, no such decision had been made.

“Until there is such an orderly and transparent decision, I would recommend that all of us wait in line and vaccinate in accordance with age and health status, together with the entire public,” he said.