Tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors have not received a coronavirus vaccination yet because they cannot leave, or are afraid to leave, their homes, the voluntary organization Yad Sarah has announced.
Yad Sarah has approached the state and supportive organizations - including the Claims Conference - to solve the problem, but to no avail.
“There are so many Holocaust survivors who would like to get vaccinated and they can’t. They survived the Holocaust, established the state, built our streets and cities and they do not deserve to receive what all the other citizens are receiving?” the organization’s CEO Moshe Cohen said, stressing that every day, some of them are being infected with the virus.
Yad Sarah was established over 40 years ago to lend people medical equipment for free or at very limited cost. It currently runs over 100 branches across Israel, with thousands of volunteers, to provide a wide range of services including a mobile dental service, a daycare for the disabled and a home hospital service.
The organization offers a transportation service for elderly or disabled people, “but we cannot take care of everyone,” Cohen said, estimating that about 30,000 survivors have yet to receive the vaccine.
“We are asking for help in driving those who need to be inoculated to the vaccination centers. It is important to remember that it is not possible to deliver the shots to private homes, as in every phial there is enough vaccine to inoculate five people. Therefore, if we cannot bring the vaccine to the people, we have to bring the people to the vaccine,” he said.
The health funds have been cooperating with Yad Sarah, as they are committed to vaccinating all Holocaust survivors, without them waiting in line.
“We have done it in Jerusalem, in Beersheba, in several other places, but with a very limited number of people. We do not have the financial resources to do more,” Cohen explained.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Yad Sarah has increased its support to elderly Holocaust survivors.
“Our volunteers call them every day, to check how they are doing, to wish them a good night or Shabbat shalom, to deliver medicines or anything else they might need,” Cohen explained. “Since the crisis began, even those who used to get out of their homes to take some air are not doing it any more, because the danger for them is too great.”
“Since the vaccines arrived, we have encouraged them to get inoculated, but it soon became clear that for many it was not possible. Some are too scared to take public transportation, some cannot go because they are in a wheel-chair, and so on,” he added.
“They have suffered enough, they just want to be vaccinated. We must help,” he concluded.
A spokesperson of the Claims Conference told The Jerusalem Post that they received the request from Yad Sarah only a few days ago and are processing it.