עמדת חיסונים ניידת של מכבי ביפו
Maccabi Healthcare Services pop-up COVID-19 vaccination center in Jaffa
Photo: Reuters
Maccabi Healthcare Services pop-up COVID-19 vaccination center in Jaffa

Convalescent Israelis threaten to sue to get COVID vaccines

Many Israelis who recovered from COVID-19 months ago carry very few antibodies and are afraid of getting infected again; Health Ministry refuses to vaccinate them but says will examine the issue

Iris Lifshitz-Klieger |
Published: 02.18.21 , 12:24
Several Israelis who have previously recovered from COVID-19 threatened on Wednesday to sue the Health Ministry if they are not allowed to get vaccinated against the disease.
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  • Using the services of an attorney, convalescent coronavirus patients who have low levels of antibodies handed a demand letter to Health Ministry Director-General Hezi Levy protesting the decision to exclude them from the country's vaccination campaign.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    עמדת חיסונים ניידת של מכבי ביפו
    עמדת חיסונים ניידת של מכבי ביפו
    Maccabi Healthcare Services pop-up COVID-19 vaccination center in Jaffa
    (Photo: Reuters)
    T., 57, from central Israel, contracted the virus in July alongside several members of her family, and although the results of a serologic test they had taken showed they had low levels of COVID-19 antibodies, their healthcare provider refused to vaccinate them due to orders from the Health Ministry to not vaccinate those who have recovered from the disease.
    "A serologic test, for which I paid out of pocket, revealed that I exposed to contracting and spreading the disease as much as everybody else," T. told Ynet.
    "You can't just include everyone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus as 'recovered'. Why am I not entitled to get the vaccine for coronavirus voluntarily? What did I do wrong? I am afraid to leave the house."
    T.'s attorney, Assaf Sharaf, said that the problem his client presented is only expected to get worse once the economy reopens on Sunday.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    מבצע חיסונים במשטרה
    מבצע חיסונים במשטרה
    Vials of Pfizer/BioNTech COVDI-19 vaccine
    (Photo: Israel Police)
    "There may be a situation where those who recovered from COVID and are allowed to enter gyms, hotels and concerts with a certificate of recovery will infect thousands of people with the virus without intending to do so, God forbid," Sharaf said.
    "If those who recovered wish to get vaccinated voluntarily, there is no reason not to vaccinate them, there are enough vaccines for everyone. That is why we hurried and submitted yesterday an urgent request to the director-general of the Health Ministry. If we'll get a negative response, we intend to appeal to the High Court of Justice."
    Just like T. and her family, 29-year-old S. from northern Israel faces a similar problem.
    "Calling me to donate plasma for research on coronavirus is fine but allowing me to get vaccinated because the level of antibodies in my blood is declining isn't," S. said.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    תרומת דם של מחלימים מקורונה
    תרומת דם של מחלימים מקורונה
    COVID-19 convalescent plasma
    (Photo: Health Ministry)
    "Haven't we, the early patients, been abused enough by the bizarre decisions of the Health Ministry at the beginning of the crisis? By this whole process of trial and error that we experienced first-hand? I went through hell until I got my recovery certificate, for example. This decision discriminates against a large group within the country's population.
    The ministry said in response that "a low level of antibodies does not necessarily indicate a lack of immunity" and the issue of vaccinating those who recovered from COVID-19 will be discussed with the ministry's epidemic task force.
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