Following a successful test in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening, Israel is set to expand its night vaccination campaign to cities across the country as part of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s effort to prevent another national lockdown and curb rising morbidity.
Hundreds of people, ranging in age from 12 to 90, were vaccinated in Dizengoff Square in central Tel Aviv, following the end of Shabbat as part of a joint initiative between the municipality and Magen David Adom emergency service.
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These included younger people receiving their first and second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine as well those over 50 receiving a third booster shot.
Among those who received a third jab was Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar, who tweeted that “vaccination is the most important means of preventing the spread of the pandemic.”
On Saturday evening, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett instructed Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz to expand Tel Aviv’s night vaccination pilot to Israel’s “ten main cities,” with the opening of vaccination stands from Sunday until Tuesday.
"This is saving lives and night inoculations allow people who do not want to miss work to get vaccinated without an appointment at unconventional hours. We will continue to make every effort to vaccinate everyone who is willing and able,” Bennett said.
The Prime Minister's office (PMO) did not specify which cities were included in the rollout, promising to release a list on Sunday.
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Bennett has repeatedly stated that accelerating the country’s vaccination campaign is critical to preventing another national lockdown.
Speaking with the heads of the country’s four national HMO's on Friday, Bennett called for efforts to provide older Israelis with a third dose to continue “over Shabbat and at night as well.”
Because it was a matter of life and death, “vaccination efforts must continue around the clock, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” the PMO explained, calling for a doubling of the pace of vaccinations through the use of IDF medics.
Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash said Sunday that he expects Israel's pioneering COVID booster shot campaign to stop a rise in serious cases "over the next week", which have been steadily going up since late July amid the spread of the delta variant, raising concerns the health system may be nearing full capacity.