'In 11 Days They Will Expire': Israel Urges Youth to Get COVID Vaccines

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Haaretz
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Israelis receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Tel Aviv, this year.
Israelis receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Tel Aviv, this year.Credit: Hadas Parush
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Haaretz

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called Monday on young people to get vaccinated against COVID, citing the vaccines approaching expiration date.

"There are 11 days left, we are in a race against time – go get vaccinated," Bennett said in a video.

"There are enough vaccines right now for everyone," added Bennett, "but there's a catch: They are about to expire soon… The last possible date to get vaccinated is July 9."

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On Sunday evening, Israel's coronavirus cabinet convened for the first time since the new government was established  to discuss ways to combat the spread of the COVID delta variant. 

While the cabinet was convening, the director general of the Health Ministry, Prof. Chezy Levy, announced his resignation on Sunday

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz announced on Monday that coronavirus czar, Nachman Ash, would replace Levy as the ministry's new director general. 

Horowitz said that Ash was an "experienced manager who sees people first" and that he has "no doubt that he will lead the Health Ministry with the wisdom and determination that characterize him." The government has yet to decide whether to replace Ash as czar or whether he will keep the position along with his new responsibilities as director general.

Ash's appointment didn't come as a surprise. For Horowitz, it's a safe choice that doesn't rattle the system. Ash is highly experienced in health administration and was deeply involved in the Health Ministry's coronavirus efforts over the last year. He earned support and appreciation for his performance as the coronavirus czar from both his superiors and subordinates. Professionals who had worked with him over the last year have commended his decisions and manner.

Also on Sunday, Bennett said that Ben-Gurion Airport is "a huge national vulnerability" in terms of the COVID spread, and announced the appointment of a special czar for Israel's international gateway.

The new czar was named as Maj. Gen. (Res.) Roni Numa, who last year was tasked with managing the COVID outbreak in ultra-Orthodox cities. 

The ban on travelling to high-risk countries was also extended until July 11, unless authorized by the exemptions committee. Violating the ban will be considered an administrative and criminal offense, with the offender liable to receive a 5000 shekel ($1540) fine. 

The coronavirus cabinet decided not to impose any new restrictions at present. The cabinet decided to focus their efforts on developing a plan for enforcing quarantine of Israelis returning from abroad, and a campaign to encourage vaccination among younger teens.

145 Israelis contracted the coronavirus on Sunday, according to health ministry data. On Monday, the health ministry said 22 patients are in serious condition, with 16 on ventilators. 

45,123 tests were conducted on Sunday; 0.4 percent of which were  returned with positive results. 

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