Coronavirus vaccines: Which Israelis will be jabbed first?

Medical personnel top the list, while children will be ineligible for inoculation

Hadassah-University Medical Center's Prof. Yossi Karko (left) and Hannah Drori, chief of the hospital’s clinical research center, administer Brilife vaccine to a volunteer (photo credit: HADASSAH)
Hadassah-University Medical Center's Prof. Yossi Karko (left) and Hannah Drori, chief of the hospital’s clinical research center, administer Brilife vaccine to a volunteer
(photo credit: HADASSAH)
The Health Ministry revealed on Thursday the list of people who will be prioritized to receive the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine.
“From a health point of view, our priority is quite simple, and it is similar to most of the world,” said Dr. Boaz Lev, ombudsman for the ministry’s medical professions.
Priority will first be given to the country’s 250,000 medical professionals. Next will be some 350,000 elderly citizens living in the country’s geriatric institutions and other senior citizens.
“We need to set an age limit. We think the limit will be 50 or 60, according to the number of vaccines we will receive,” Lev said.
Next in line will be people with pre-existing medical conditions that put them at risk of developing a serious case of COVID-19, such as people who are morbidly obese, have diabetes or who have undergone organ transplants.
After that, people who are being treated in the country’s mental hospitals – around 200,000 people.
Then the IDF, and finally the rest of the population will be eligible.
“It should be remembered that we want to see the flow and utilization of these vaccines, so there is a possibility that we will open the vaccination at the beginning to more extensive groups of people,” Lev added.
There are those, however, who will not be allowed to take the vaccine at first. This includes pregnant women and children aged under 16, about which there is no data as to its safety.
Lev said that breastfeeding women could be inoculated.
In addition, people who have a history of suffering allergic reactions from other vaccines will also not receive the coronavirus vaccine.
People who already had coronavirus will not need to be vaccinated, as it is assumed that they have already developed antibodies against the disease.
Health Ministry director-general Chezy Levy said that the vaccines will be available only after they have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, which was meeting at press time, and the Health Ministry.
“We are reducing bureaucracy,” he said, “but we will not compromise on the safety of the vaccine.”
Levy said he hoped that toward the end of the month, Israel could start vaccinating its citizens.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that vaccination would likely begin on December 27.
Levy stressed the safety of the vaccine and said that he, like the prime minister, would be among the first to receive a jab.
On Thursday, Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein visited the Teva SLE Logistic Center where the vaccines will be stored, and met with the heads of the health funds, which are expected to manage the distribution and administration of the vaccines.
“We see with our own eyes how the program works wonderfully,” Edelstein said from the Teva center. “From the planes straight to the giant freezers here.”
He said his fear was that “fake news” would deter people from getting vaccinated.
“In the coming days, I will discuss the challenge with the prime minister to find an answer to this,” he said.
Tens of thousands of additional vaccines arrived on Thursday and more are expected in the coming weeks. The CEO of Teva SLE Logistics said Thursday that some four million Pfizer vaccines and another three million Moderna vaccines were expected at his center by January 1.
“Our intention, of course, is to reach the opening of the economy as quickly as possible and get life back on track,” Netanyahu said during his visit to Teva. “I tell you in advance that this will also require your cooperation so that we can do so at a minimal cost… With your help and that of the Almighty, we will succeed.”