Israel is set to vaccinate medical teams against coronavirus before the at-risk population, the Health Ministry said Wednesday.
The country prepares to begin administrating coronavirus vaccinations next week after thousands of doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in Israel last as this week via special charter flights.
The ministry published a list of who will be inoculated first, with health workers appearing to get the top priority. The first to receive the vaccines will be members of the medical staff at hospitals followed by HMOs and private health clinics.
Those employed at geriatric and psychiatric hospitals will be vaccinated next, alongside nursing and medical students working in hospitals and members of Magen David Adom and other rescue organizations.
They will be followed by nursing home employees and residents as well as Israelis over the age of 60 insured by HMO.
Citizens suffering from underlying health conditions, including diabetes, obesity, COPD lung disease, hypertension, patients with immunosuppression, those who undergone organ transplants or suffer from hematologic disorders will be eligible to receive the vaccine at the second stage of the campaign.
Those serving in the IDF will start receiving the vaccine as early as the end of next month, with Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi becoming the first serving member to be inoculated.
The medical staff within the military will be vaccinated first, followed by soldiers who have underlying health problems.
Israelis not eligible to receive the vaccine at this time are those who recently recovered from the pathogen and have antibodies, pregnant or breastfeeding women (or women trying to get pregnant), people with severe allergies and children under 16.
Teachers are also excluded from the list of those eligible to receive the vaccine at the beginning stages of the campaign, despite their frequent exposure to children aged 16 and under who will not be vaccinated.
During a meeting held among the representatives of the Health Ministry, hospitals and the Teva logistics center where the vaccines are stored, it was made clear that the hospitals will most likely receive the first doses of the vaccine on Sunday, with initial inoculations taking place a day later.
Meanwhile, the HMOs have also started to prepare for the vaccination campaign.
"In terms of our readiness and according to the information we receive from the Health Ministry, we are ready to vaccinate our employees this coming Sunday,” said the CEO of the Leumit Health Care Services, Haim Fernandez. "On Wednesday we can start vaccinating our insured aged 60 and up and those with chronic diseases.”
President Reuven Rivlin's office said he will be among the first Israelis to get vaccinated this coming Sunday at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein are set to be inoculated on Saturday evening.
Director General of the Health Ministry Prof. Hezi Levi called on all Israelis to get vaccinated once vaccines are freely available.
"We are doing our best to make the coronavirus vaccines accessible to the entire population. As more vaccines arrive, we will expand the list of those eligible to all sectors," he said. "This is the way in which we will be able to deal with the disease and return to our routine in all areas of life. "