Health Official: Drastic Drop in Vaccination Rate Troubling

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israelis receive a COVID-19 vaccine, at a Maccabi Health vaccination center at the Givatayim mall, Thursday. (Miriam ALster/Flash90)

Every Israeli over the age of 16 is now eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccination, as of Thursday. This makes Israel the first country in the world to offer immunization to the general public regardless of prioritized risk groups.

Health Ministry data showed that so far, 3,298,233 Israelis have received the first dose of the vaccination, and 1,906,942 have been fully immunized.

“Take advantage of this opportunity that almost no country in the world has,” Health Minister Yuli Edelstein posted, calling on the public to get vaccinated. “Come en masse because this is the only way to overcome the coronavirus – together.”

The decision to expand the inoculation drive to teens came in the aftermath of a drastic drop in the vaccination rate in recent days, as the vaccination sites that used to have long lines became almost deserted.

“When the campaign started, we used to check every person, according to their appointment and ID,” an official as a vaccination site told Yisrael Hayom. “Now it’s much more flexible. After a security check, we let people in and the medical staff can decide whether to vaccinate [that person] or not. From what I saw today, everyone who came got inoculated.”

“The only way to exit the lockdown and overcome the pandemic is to continue to get vaccinated with determination and persistence,” Director-General of the Health Ministry Professor Chezi Levi said, also calling on the public to get inoculated, adding that “the decrease [in the public’s] responsiveness [to get vaccinated] is very worrying.”