בקבוקון חיסון נגד קורונה של חברת פייזר מזרק
Pfizer's coronavirus vaccination
Photo: Reuters
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz meeting with participants in a clinical trial for an Israeli vaccine at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer

Health Ministry mulls mandatory COVID vaccination for Israelis

Debate comes after Pfizer announcement of 90% success rate for trial vaccine; move aims to push members of public who fear vaccination to immunize themselves although legal validity may be in question

Adir Yanko |
Published: 11.10.20 , 11:57
The Health Ministry is considering the option of recommending legislation requiring Israeli citizens to be vaccinated against coronavirus when the vaccine is made available in Israel.
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  • The debate came after an announcement by pharmaceutical conglomerate Pfizer that its experimental COVID-19 vaccine is more than 90% effective and could begin to be rolled out by the end of the year.
    בנימין נתניהובנימין נתניהו
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz meeting with participants in a clinical trial for an Israeli vaccine at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer
    (Photo: GPO)
    The move is intended to push members of the public who fear vaccination to immunize themselves and encourage the chances of herd immunity among the populace and those who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus.
    The ministry’s epidemic task force has previously expressed concern about public hesitation to receive a vaccine and the consequences should a large slice of the population refuse to vaccinate themselves.
    בקבוקון חיסון נגד קורונה של חברת פייזר מזרקבקבוקון חיסון נגד קורונה של חברת פייזר מזרק
    Pfizer's coronavirus vaccination
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The task force proposed, among other things, to step up the Health Ministry information campaign about the pandemic in order to provide additional information about the vaccination.
    The proposal may face legal opposition, however.
    "In principle, the State of Israel has to this day refrained from legally requiring any vaccinations," said Dr. Adi Niv-Yagoda, an expert in health policy and medical law at Tel Aviv University.
    מחלקת קורונה ברמב"ם חיפהמחלקת קורונה ברמב"ם חיפה
    An underground coronavirus ward at Rambam Healthcare Campus in Haifa
    (Photo: Reuters)
    “Even today, the state allows a citizen to maintain autonomy and not be vaccinated with the routine vaccines recommended by the Health Ministry,” said Niv-Yagoda.
    ”Many steps are taken to explain the importance of immunization... Consequently the immunization rate [in Israel] is one of the highest in the world.”
    Adi Niv-Yagoda Adi Niv-Yagoda
    Adi Niv-Yagoda
    (Photo: Max Moran)
    Niv-Yagoda said that despite the pandemic, a law forcing citizens to immunize themselves “constitutes a fatal violation of basic rights and freedoms of the individual. The way to achieve high immunization coverage is through advocacy and the establishment of trust between the government and the public.”
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