Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef on Sunday called on the ultra-Orthodox public to receive the coronavirus vaccine, while Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau was vaccinated at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.
Despite government efforts to reduce the growing infection rates in Haredi neighborhoods and localities, an alarming increase in infections among the ultra-Orthodox population was recently noted.
"We were told and we were blessed by the grace of God to be blessed and a vaccine was found that prevents the coronavirus infection,” wrote Rabbi Yosef in an Ultra-Orthodox publication on Sunday.
“All the necessary experiments were made and experts say that the vaccine is indeed helpful in stopping the pandemic while posing no danger.”
Rabbi Lau also voiced his support before getting vaccinated himself.
"I very much hope that this vaccine will bring complete health to all of us," he said. "We are all in this together, it is not a matter of right or left, religious or no, Jewish, Arab or anything else."
Rabbi Avraham Rubinstein, mayor of the predominantly-Haredi town of Bnei Brak, was also vaccinated on Sunday.
"Go and get vaccinated to protect yourselves and your loved ones," said Rubinstein.
"I am here to set an example for the ultra-Orthodox public, and I am sure that just as my fellow citizens went out to be tested en masse, so will they come and get vaccinated."
The Rebbe of the Hasidic dynasty of Ger, Yaakov Aryeh Alter, was also expected to receive the vaccine on Sunday evening, after his wife tested positive for the virus.
It is thought that his willingness to receive the vaccine will significantly increase the number of people getting vaccinated, at least in the Ger Hasidic movement.
With the exception of the Rebbe of Ger, other ultra-Orthodox leaders - whose stance on the matter is crucial for motivating potential vaccinators - have thus far not voiced their support for getting inoculated against the coronavirus.
Very few people arrived Sunday to receive the vaccine at Jerusalem’s Haturim clinic, which offers services mainly to the Ultra-Orthodox residents of the surrounding neighborhoods, despite calls to do so by several of the community's senior leaders.
"Very significant letters have been sent out by senior members of the ultra-Orthodox community, saying that it is right to get vaccinated," said the chairman of the Meuhedet health maintenance organization, Eyal Gabay.
"We received letters of support from leading rabbis in the ultra-Orthodox community, and we have an excellent relationship with the public who trusts us,” said Gabay. "We received a letter from the head of the Hebron Yeshiva, Rabbi David HaCohen, calling for people to get vaccinated.”
Gabay also said that the HMO has gone out of its way to make sure the Haredi population knows the vaccine is available and accessible to those wishing to get themselves inoculated.
"The ultra-Orthodox public - and I say this with confidence - will get the vaccination just as much if not more than the general public," said Gabay.
"What we need is confidence in science, safety and in the rabbis, and I believe we have that."