Sever Plocker
Sever Plocker
Photo: Shem Olam
An IDF soldier receives the COVID-19 vaccine at an army base in Rishon Lezion, Feb. 2021

Israel needs herd immunity not herd insanity

Opinion: With the lockdown proving ineffective and coronavirus' more infectious variants running wild, Israelis must meet their moral obligations to help ensure that their fellow citizens are safe from dangers, including medical ones

Sever Plocker |
Published: 02.08.21 , 23:19
Israel's government decided on Thursday to "exit the lockdown," or what it decided would be called a "lockdown."
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  • In Tel Aviv, this "lockdown" ended with 2,700 active COVID-19 cases, whereas at its launch in December there were only about 200.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    An IDF soldier receives the COVID-19 vaccine at an army base in Rishon Lezion, Feb. 2021
    An IDF soldier receives the COVID-19 vaccine at an army base in Rishon Lezion, Feb. 2021
    An IDF soldier receives the COVID-19 vaccine at an army base in Rishon Lezion, Feb. 2021
    (Photo: AP)
    In light of the failed national closure and the high infectivity of the UK variant of the virus, Israel now has just one strategy left to beat this pandemic - and that is to vaccinate at least 75-80 percent of all citizens over the age of 12.
    Hospital directors have voiced similar calls over the past week, urging everyone to get vaccinated immediately.
    According to Bloomberg media outlet, Israel - which is currently the world leader in vaccinations per capita – could reach this level of inoculated citizenry within two months and allow its economy to completely return to normal.
    So now the government must consolidate all its efforts and create a dedicated vaccination taskforce with the proper authorization to accomplish this goal.
    For while other nations are warring over every dose, many Israelis are allowing themselves the luxury of hesitating or even downright refusing to get vaccinated.
    This mass madness must end now.
    The vaccine is Israel's final way of ensuring a safe exit from the pandemic and requires the use of every tool possible to guarantee its rapid application.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    People line up to be vaccinated in Tel Aviv
    People line up to be vaccinated in Tel Aviv
    Israelis receiving the coronavirus vaccine at a pop-up site in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Yuval Chen)
    Incentives big and small, positive and negative must be used to get the people into the vaccination centers and the vaccine into their veins.
    A positive incentive, for example, could be an exemption from property tax should everyone in the household be vaccinated.
    A negative incentive could be a halt in special state stipends for any adults who are not listed as having been vaccinated or having recovered from coronavirus.
    The National Insurance Institute would only be allowed to issue the stipend if it shows that the person has received the second vaccine dose.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    אחרי שבוטלה - הטיסה ההומניטרית מגרמניה נחתה בנתב"ג
    אחרי שבוטלה - הטיסה ההומניטרית מגרמניה נחתה בנתב"ג
    A woman sits at Ben-Gurion Airport after arriving on a special flight sent to Germany to bring back stranded Israelis
    (Photo: Nadav Abas)
    Other positive incentives could include an exemption from quarantine after coming in contact with a confirmed carrier, permitted gatherings of people who have had both doses, free entry to cultural events and even special tax breaks.
    Negative incentives could include full vaccination of staff as a prerequisite for reopening a business and denying access to Ben-Gurion Airport to vaccine refusers.
    If we are left with no other option, mandatory vaccinations could even be discussed, similar to mandatory military service or the health tax.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    גרפיטי של מתנגדי החיסונים בטבריה
    גרפיטי של מתנגדי החיסונים בטבריה
    A clinic in Tiberias in daubed with the words: 'We are not sheep'
    Not wanting to get inoculated is not a personal issue, just like speeding in your car.
    Without a sizeable turnout in the vaccine drive, Israel will keep seeing high coronavirus morbidity and deaths for months on end.
    The vaccination is the supreme moral duty of each citizen. Refusing to get vaccinated is not only immoral, but a risk to our fellow citizens.
    We as a society must ensure the right of each of us to live in safety from all dangers - even medical ones.
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