The Ministry of Health intends to punish Israelis who refuse the coronavirus vaccine and impose severe penalties on companies that accept unvaccinated clients and people who falsify vaccination certificates. According to Channel 12, Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein wants to encourage widespread immunization, offering benefits to those who make the vaccine and limiting the options of those who do not get it.
“Those who don’t get vaccinated will only go to supermarkets or pharmacies, while those who get vaccinated will go to stadiums and gyms,” Edelstein said.
The number of infections (which is totally irrelevant) reached its lowest rate since the end of December on Thursday, and the number of seriously ill patients in Israeli hospitals fell below 1,000 for the first time since early January. But the vaccination campaign began to slow down.
Minister Edelstein said he wanted to propose legislation to allow employers to prevent workers who are not vaccinated against coronavirus from coming to work and warned that the rule would also apply to those in the education system.
He said education workers who refuse the vaccine should pay for a Covid-19 test every 48 hours if they want to continue teaching.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told cabinet ministers on Thursday: “Whoever does not vaccinate puts us all in danger, because it can cause the health system to collapse.”
Officials are working to encourage people to get vaccinated, including by fighting misinformation online and planning incentives.
Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizri warned local authorities that they are not allowed to deny unvaccinated teachers, staff and students access to educational institutions, whether it is a private or state unit.
“Under the current legal situation, local councils are not allowed to independently establish rules to limit the access of education workers to educational institutions,” Nizri said in a letter to municipal legal advisers.
Channel 12 reported that officials are seeking to limit access to gyms, hotels, restaurants, cultural and sporting events for those who refuse to be vaccinated.
As it is not legally possible to completely ban those who do not want to be vaccinated, a strategy will be available for those who have a negative Covid test performed in the last 48 hours.
But health officials hope to find ways to make testing more difficult – encouraging more people to go for the vaccine – including charging for tests, limiting their numbers and reducing the number of test sites, the report said.
The vaccination campaign is slowing down
To date, 3,734,894 people have had at least one first dose of the vaccine, and 2,376,138 have also received the booster – nearly a quarter of the entire population.
But in the last four days, only 65,000 Israelis a day have been vaccinated with the first dose, even though the serum is now available to all Israelis over the age of 16.
The total number of cases identified since the beginning of the pandemic reached 714,056, including 65,730 active cases. 5,272 victims of Covid have been recorded so far in Israel.