The production team of Israel's version of hit reality TV show "Survivor" was scheduled to get vaccinated against coronavirus on Monday, raising the ire of many Israelis who struggle to secure the treatment despite being in at-risk groups.
The show's production, which is expected to fly out to film the series next month, inked a deal with health maintenance organization (HMO) Clalit Health Services to supply its team with the shot. The deal appears to be in violation of a Health Ministry directive, urging health facilities not to prioritize celebrities when vaccinating against COVID, unless they are in at-risk groups.
The publication of the news by Ynet caused a stir on social media, with users accusing the HMO of disregarding its regular clients but prioritizing celebrities.
"Survivor's production team before my dad? This is infuriating and unfair," Yael from Ramat Hasharon wrote in response.
"He's 85, a widower chasing after a vaccine… he told us that he has been trying to get an answer from Clalit since yesterday and that he is deeply disappointed they're not answering him. Ultimately, they made an appointment for him at the end of February," she added.
"This is a disgrace! My 90-year-old grandfather waited for hours yesterday for Clalit to set an appointment for him, and nothing," a user named Hadas wrote.
"My father is almost 70 years old and diabetic. He received a message to come and get vaccinated, but yesterday he tried calling Clalit and couldn't get a hold of them," Liat from Kiryat Yam wrote.
"Today, they told him that they will only get vaccines in January and that it was too early to set an appointment. My mother is in Maccabi [a competitor of Clalit] and she already has an appointment for Thursday. This is infuriating. This is a disgrace."
Shahar from Yehud wrote she tried calling the HMO for hours on end to get an appointment for her 86-year-old grandmother to get vaccinated, but with no luck.
"Today, after an hour on hold, someone finally answered and said that all the vaccines in my grandmother's area were out and that I should try again later," she said.
"When I asked when, she couldn't say. This is a disgrace that an older person pays the HMO each month and nobody cares about them, I just read that Survivor's entire team was set to get the shot and I started crying. Young and healthy people will be vaccinated for TV ratings and I am forced to fight for my grandmother."
Following Ynet's request, Clalit officials announced that in light of the Health Ministry's orders, the vaccinations for the production team will not be carried out.
"We operate in accordance with the guidelines of the Health Ministry and will be vaccinating at this stage only those aged 60 and over. The production of the program has been notified of the matter," a statement read.