Since being appointed Head of Public Health Services, at first temporarily and then permanently, Sharon Alroy-Preis has to a large extent become the face of the Ministry of Health when it comes to the fight against Covid-19.
The ministry does have an active director-general and a minister, as well as a well-respected "coronavirus czar" (a mid-year appointee). But Alroy-Preis's is the voice heard loud and clear above the Ministry of Health choir, and when an unpopular policy is announced, it is she who faces the Knesset plenum or television news. Small wonder that she also gets most of the heat from anti-vaxxers, to the point of threats on her life.
For her part, Alroy-Preis does not seem bothered by the threats. She continues to voice her opinion, which is always based on a scientific analysis of data and facts- a thing she stresses even when her recommendation is made in conditions of uncertainty.
Although she has a reputation as being tough when it comes to Covid-19 restrictions, in reality Alroy-Preis is not always on the more stringent side. For example, she has stressed that she does not support mandatory vaccinations, despite strongly recommending that vaccines be made available to all ages. With the launch of the children's vaccination campaign, out of consideration for public concerns, she instructed the Ministry of Health to improve the system for examining vaccine side effects.
In another instance, she stated, "I won't tell parents 'Get your children vaccinated.' I'll tell them, 'Go read and learn,'" while she herself, of course, she believes the vaccine is the right choice, and has vaccinated her children as well. She even supported abolishing the Green Pass at one point, saying, "The Green Pass isn't the reason for vaccinating children, and the Green Pass's purpose isn't to promote vaccinations, but to reduce morbidity. When infection rates go down, it's our duty to do away with the Green Pass." However, at present, her recommendation is to continue using the Green Pass, because of the increase in cases.
When Alroy-Preis finds herself in conflict with the politicians, she emphasizes that as a public servant the only thing she considers is the public's health, and that it is the government that needs to balance public health against all the various other constraints.
Although Alroy-Preis's role is not political, she has spoken out in the past and said of the Bennett government that "Every government has its considerations. For one government, considerations are sectoral and for this government, the considerations are economic".
Alroy-Preis received credit for her hard, uncompromising work when she was selected to present, on behalf of the Ministry of Health, the results of Israel's booster shot campaign to the FDA team deliberating its approval in the United States. In the end, the FDA decided to administer boosters first to adults and then to the entire population, as was done in Israel. Alroy-Preis received many compliments around the world for the data collected by the ministry and for the clarity with which she presented them."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 30, 2021.
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2021.