Israel's world-beating vaccination drive is losing momentum. According to the Ministry of Health, 3,541,000 Israelis have been inoculated against Covid-19, including 2,157,100 who have had both doses of the vaccine.
Even though vaccinations were opened up last week for everybody 16 and over, yesterday only 59,000 people received their first dose and most clinics and vaccination centers were operating far below capacity.
Israel has easily outstripped all other countries in terms of the number of people fully vaccinated to date but the rollout is losing steam and other countries are fast catching up. More importantly, with a population of 9,300,000, only 38% of Israelis have been vaccinated. Health Minister Yuli Edelstein warned, "If we want to get back to normal, then we need all of you, so go and get vaccinated."
Ministry of Health director general Hezi Levi yesterday call the CEOs of Israel's four health funds to an emergency meeting to discuss ways of boosting the vaccination drive. He proposed financial incentives for the health funds based on milestones, after which the funds would receive bonus payments for each person over 50 that they vaccinate. The CEOs were reportedly skeptical about such a plan and felt that incentives for people to go and get vaccinated, such as the green passport, would be more effective.
Some 90% of Israelis over 60 in the population at large have been vaccinated but this falls to 50% and below in the Haredi and Arab sectors, where infection rates are anyway at their highest. People below 50 also seem to be in no rush to get vaccinated, influenced by anti-vax fake news, or hesitant over the speed that the FDA granted emergency approval. But most young people are simply indifferent. They do not feel personally threatened by the virus and now feel they do not have to worry about infecting their parents or grandparents, if they have been vaccinated, even though the vaccination is only 95% effective.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 9, 2021
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