Hundreds of Masa students were given their first COVID-19 vaccination shot in Jerusalem on Wednesday after the Health Ministry decided to approve of the move following joint efforts by the Jewish Agency and Masa.
While they are not Israeli citizens, the roughly 5,000 young people spend months in Israel engaged at various capacities, from hi-tech interns to English language teachers, while coming in daily contact with locals.
The nine-day vaccination effort will take place in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Beersheba and Eilat using a special registration system to ensure not a single vaccine will go to waste.
Multi-language medical teams were formed to give the MASA participants a chance to have their questions answered in English, French and Russia.
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog visited the MDA vaccination center in Jerusalem on Wednesday and expressed support.
"I saw a slogan here," said the minister, "'live like an Israeli and get vaccinated like an Israeli.' That is what we wish for all those who take part in this effort."
Herzog congratulated Edelstein, the Health Ministry, and MDA for the successful effort.
MASA CEO Ofer Gutman said that the thousands of young people who arrive to Israel via the program are “an integral part” of Israeli society and that the vaccination effort will allow them to resume their various volunteering programs here.