A young girl receives her coronavirus vaccine at a clinic in Jerusalem

Education minister, health officials butt heads over bungled school vaccination push

Shasha-Biton accuses ministry of neglecting to allocate sufficient resources to campaign, which saw just over 56,000 schoolchildren getting their COVID shots; Health Ministry retorts campaign has been postponed for weeks due to her opposition

Attila Somfalvi , Alexandra Lukash |
Published: 01.13.22, 13:31
Following Israel's decision to call quits on its coronavirus vaccination drive in schools, Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton and the Health Ministry on Thursday tried to pass the buck to one another over the program's low turnout.
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  • The New Hope minister accused the Health Ministry of neglecting to allocate sufficient resources to the campaign, which saw just over 56,000 schoolchildren getting their shots.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    חיסוני קורונה בירושלים
    חיסוני קורונה בירושלים
    A young girl receives her coronavirus vaccine at a clinic in Jerusalem
    (Photo: EPA)
    "Had we had more resources, we could have vaccinated more children," she told Ynet. "They supplied us with only 50 mobile clinics to serve more than 5,000 schools."
    Shasha-Biton also stressed that the campaign's windup was the Health Ministry's decision.
    "We received a letter from [Head of Public Health Department in the Health Ministry] Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, requesting that all nurses taking part in the campaign return to a regular vaccination procedure and stop vaccinating in schools," she said.
    The education minister also blamed parents' hesitancy for low vaccination turnout, along with inadequate efforts on the Health Ministry's part to educate children on the benefits of the vaccine.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    יפעת שאשא ביטון בריאיון באולפן
    יפעת שאשא ביטון בריאיון באולפן
    Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton
    (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
    The Health Ministry hit back at Shasha-Biton's allegations with its own slings and arrows.
    "It is baffling to hear how the education minister, time and time again, is seeking to smear and pass the buck instead of working together in tandem. The vaccination campaign in schools has been postponed for weeks due to her opposition. Once it kicked off, the ministry deployed all of its available mobile clinics to vaccinate schoolchildren," a statement read.
    "Ending coronavirus vaccinations in schools was done in favor of returning to routine inoculations — especially the flu vaccine — given the season we are in and the duty to safeguard the public's health. Every child whose parents make an appointment to get vaccinated with their healthcare provider will be vaccinated that same week."
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