United Hatzalah will be dismissing any of its volunteers who have not yet caught COVID-19 and refuse the vaccine.
United Hatzalah Founder and President Eli Beer, who himself was seriously ill with COVID last year before making what has been described as a miraculous recovery, last week instructed the chapter heads of all regions in Israel — Jewish, Muslim, and Christian — to ensure that all volunteers under their jurisdiction who have not caught the virus receive the vaccine by March 7th. Volunteers who refuse the vaccine will be suspended from all duties, and after a grace period, removed from the organization.
Temporary exemptions may be given for those with a medical need such as expectant women in the first trimester, but they will not be permitted to respond to certain calls, such as respiratory emergencies, emergencies where someone in the home is in isolation or sick with COVID, or any emergency involving fever.
“I see it as our duty in saving lives,” said Beer. “As medical personnel and first responders, we are at risk, and we can endanger others if we aren’t vaccinated. We’ve had a number of volunteers in the past contract the virus because they responded to an emergency prior to the vaccines being available and in spite of the precautions they took. I don’t want any of our volunteers getting sick, or their families getting sick. G-d forbid I don’t want any of our volunteers passing the virus on to a patient, either.”