A Slice and a Shot: Tel Aviv Pushes COVID-19 Vaccine with Free Food

TEL AVIV (Reuters) -
A man receives Kanafeh after he was vaccinated near a mobile vaccination unit in Tel Aviv. (REUTERS/Corinna Kern)

Pizza, hummus, pastry and a cup of coffee were on the menu on Tuesday to entice Israelis to get their COVID-19 vaccinations.

In cooperation with local restaurants, Tel Aviv offered the food at two pop-up vaccination centers, hoping to persuade inoculation holdouts to take a shot.

Although Israel is leading the world in the speed of its vaccination drive, authorities are still concerned that younger people less prone to dangerous coronavirus complications, and others jittery about inoculation will not get their jabs.

So it was free pizza, hummus and knafeh, a sweet Middle Eastern dessert made with filo pastry, for all. And dozens of people showed up.

“We came to get vaccinated, until now we were worried but because of the upcoming restrictions (against people who don’t vaccinate) there was not much choice, and it’s also very nice to get a pizza and a coffee,” said Lizi Kritzer, a 32-year-old municipality worker.

Eytan Schwartz, a spokesman for the Tel Aviv municipality, said the city hoped the food and drink offered at the vaccination stations in two community centers would create a “family-like atmosphere” to attract the hesitant.

“I came today to get vaccinated and I tell everyone to come and get the shot so that we can keep our health better,” Iman Dasui, a 60-year-old teacher said. “There is also knafeh here … very tasty.”