Netanyahu, Rivlin to vaccinate first in public events

Edelstein: Those who spread ‘fake’ vaccine news could cause people to die.

President Reuven Rivlin is administered the Sofia rapid antigen coronavirus test by Clalit staff in Ashkelon. (photo credit: GPO/KOBI GIDEON)
President Reuven Rivlin is administered the Sofia rapid antigen coronavirus test by Clalit staff in Ashkelon.
(photo credit: GPO/KOBI GIDEON)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will receive a coronavirus vaccination on Saturday night and President Reuven Rivlin will be inoculated on Sunday morning, the two men said Wednesday.
“On Friday I will get out of [isolation] and on Saturday night I will get vaccinated,” Netanyahu said in a video statement. He is expected to be jabbed at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer.
Rivlin will receive his injection on Sunday at Hadassah Hospital, Ein Kerem in Jerusalem.
Rivlin and Netanyahu’s vaccination will be filmed and photographed in an attempt to help build public trust in the vaccine.
 “I asked to be the first vaccinated to set an example and convince you that you can get vaccinated and need to get vaccinated,” the prime minister said.
Rivlin said that he will take the opportunity to “salute medical teams throughout the country and their noble work during the coronavirus pandemic.”
The IDF said Wednesday that Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi would be the first in the military to be vaccinated – to set an example to soldiers. Health Minister Yuli Edelstein is also expected to be among the first to receive a jab.
The announcement of that these public figures will receive vaccinations came Wednesday evening, hours after Edelstein emphasized that the Health Ministry had embarked on a multi-language vaccine advocacy campaign promoted by famous Israeli leaders and celebrities.
He also stressed that “the personal example of hospital administrators and senior doctors is also part of an important information campaign.”
“This is the most important mission for the State of Israel in 2021,” Edelstein later said in a statement.
Some 300,000 more Pfizer vaccines arrived in Israel on Wednesday and close to four million are expected to land before the end of the year. By the end of March, N12 reported, an additional four million doses will be available locally.
Hospital personnel are expected to be vaccinated on Sunday or Monday, after the vaccines arrive from their storage facility at the Teva Logistics Center in Shoham.
The hospitals say they are prepared and that thousands of staff have already volunteered to be vaccinated.
Netanyahu reiterated that a professional committee determined the order of priority for vaccination, which the Health Ministry formally announced Wednesday will begin with medical personnel at hospitals, health funds, and private and dental clinics.
Priority will also be given to those who work in geriatric and psychiatric hospitals, to nursing and medical residents and to members of Magen David Adom and other rescue organizations.
Once they are vaccinated, people over the age of 60 and those with chronic illnesses that put them at risk for developing serious cases of COVID-19 will be able to be inoculated.
Then, people with lesser but also dangerous pre-existing medical conditions will be vaccinated, such as those with diabetes or high blood pressure. At the same time, those who come into regular contact with the public, such as teachers and social workers, prison guards and prisoners and other first responders, will also be able to get inoculated, as will members of the IDF and other security agencies.
If enough vaccines arrive in Israel, then it should not take more than three or four weeks for the rest of the public to be able to vaccinate, if they want.
“It’s good to have vaccines. I’m glad there are vaccines,” opposition leader Yair Lapid said Wednesday in an address at the Knesset. “I thought it would take months. Pfizer is ahead of schedule. The Food and Drug Administration has expedited proceedings. I call on everyone to get vaccinated. I’m ready to get vaccinated tomorrow morning.”
He stressed, however, that vaccines “are not a political achievement.”
“Anyone who can pay will get vaccines,” Lapid said. “Netanyahu messed up in his handling of coronavirus from start to finish, so he invented an immunization campaign for himself. Instead of fighting the pandemic, he is waging a battle for awareness.
“To make us forget how badly he managed it, Netanyahu decided to go to the polls with a false campaign of ‘we have the vaccines because of me,’” Lapid continued. “They are not thanks to you. They are thanks to scientists and doctors who live in America and Germany.”
Lapid noted that there are quite a few countries whose citizens will get vaccinated this month, including the UK, Canada, and the US.
“Boris Johnson does not claim to have brought the vaccines,” Lapid went on. “He did not drive to the London airport to hug a freezer. In America, 20 million vaccines will be distributed in the next two weeks. No one thinks it is thanks to President [Donald] Trump.
“Netanyahu is having a fake new party,” he concluded.
EDELSTEIN FOCUSED on another type of fake news: Those who baselessly call the vaccines “dangerous,” or try to convince others not to get inoculated.
“With all due respect to the spreaders of lies, we are constantly approached by the heads of authorities, celebrities and doctors, who want to set a personal example,” the health minister said. “My main mission is to fight fake news in the coming weeks and months.
“If you do not want to get vaccinated, don’t get vaccinated,” he continued. “But do not discuss things you don’t understand, or spread lies. This could cause someone who hears this nonsense to not get vaccinated, become sick and possibly even die.”
Edelstein said his ministry would provide information about the vaccines to the public and would closely monitor the results and any side effects of those who receive inoculations. He stressed that the ministry is working closely with the four health funds, which will start vaccinating as planned by December 27, but likely even sooner.
“The people of Israel will not be given any vaccine that we do not trust 100%,” he said, noting that he had signed the approval for the coronavirus vaccine to be covered under the Vaccine Victims’ Law, which would ensure compensation to anyone harmed by it.
He stressed that the vaccines will not be mandatory.
Edelstein also discussed the idea of administering a green passport, which, he said, would be issued two weeks after people receive their second dose.
The Pfizer vaccine requires two jabs 21 days apart. The Moderna vaccine, which is still waiting approval, also requires two shots.
Those who choose not to be vaccinated will still be able to work, including medical doctors, coronavirus commissioner Prof. Nachman Ash later clarified while speaking at a separate event. But he said that other means of ensuring safety would have to be established.
Many other pandemics, such as smallpox, polio and measles were nearly eradicated by vaccination, said Galia Rahav, head of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Sheba Medical Center on Wednesday. She spoke during a seminar on vaccination.
“The only exit strategy that can really end this crisis is vaccination,” she said.