Israeli Prime Minister gets COVID vaccine, starts Israel roll-out

Vastavam web: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has received a COVID-19 vaccine jab, kicking off a national roll-out over the coming days. Netanyahu, 71, and his health minister were injected on Saturday with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine live on TV at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv. “I asked to be vaccinated first, together with Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, to serve as personal examples and encourage you to be vaccinated,” Netanyahu told the television audience.

The arrival of the Pfizer vaccine, and later on, the one from Moderna, marked “the beginning of the end”, he said. Netanyahu and Edelstein must each receive a booster shot in three weeks for optimal protection from the coronavirus. During the course of the week, a ministry statement said, vaccinations will be extended to the general public, starting with those above 60 years of age. The massive vaccination campaign, said to be the biggest in Israel’s history and titled “Give a Shoulder”, was pulled forward from a December 27 target date.

Israel reached a separate agreement with Moderna earlier this month to buy six million doses of its vaccine – enough for another three million Israelis. But millions of Palestinians living under Israeli control will have to wait much longer. Israel’s vaccination campaign will include Jewish settlers living deep inside the illegally occupied West Bank, who are Israeli citizens, but not the territory’s 2.5 million Palestinians.