Photo Credit: Avshalom Sassoni / Flash 90
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz receives his third COVID-19 vaccine shot during a visit to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Sava, August 13, 2021.

Israeli health officials launched an unprecedented around-the-clock drive on Saturday night to get COVID-19 vaccine into the arms of youth, young adults, and others who have yet to be inoculated.

Magen David Adom emergency medical response medics partnered with Israel’s Health Ministry and the Tel Aviv-Yafo (Jaffa) municipality to carry out vaccinations from 8 pm to 4 am at special dedicated caravans stationed in Dizengoff Square.


After seeing the great demand for night shots in Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett directed that night vaccination stands also be opened in ten main cities in Israel from Sunday until Tuesday night. A list of the cities is to be published during the day Sunday.

“This is the saving of lives,” Bennett said. “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.”

The vaccinations in Tel Aviv Saturday night were intended not only for HMO members, but also for those without a legal status.

“Israelis who are not residents and everyone who did not yet receive the vaccine, young people, youth and adults” are being asked to come to the caravans and receive a shot, “including those adults who are 50 years old and up” to receive a third vaccination,” MDA CEO Eli Bin said.

Hundreds of people lined up in Tel Aviv to take advantage of the conveniently placed caravans, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement Friday afternoon that he was urging the CEOs of Israel’s health maintenance organizations (HMO/kupat holim) to continue the campaign to administer a third dose of vaccine to the 50-plus population over the Sabbath as well as at night.

Bennett said that since “this is a matter of pikuach nefesh” (saving lives) “the vaccination efforts must continue around the clock, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

He asked the HMO CEOs to double the pace of inoculations next week by reinforcing the vaccine campaign with IDF medics in accordance with an agreement with Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

The Health Ministry predicted last week that the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 is likely to double every 10 days, with a possible spike in serious patients that could reach as high as 2,400 on the list by September 10. In January 2021, there were as many as 1,200 patients listed in serious condition – the highest number ever at that point.

This past Thursday (Aug. 12) there were 6,102 newly diagnosed cases of the coronavirus reported by the Israeli Health Ministry, which said the positivity rate rose to 5.02 percent. There were 453 patients listed in serious condition.

That number has again jumped – Channel N12 News reported Saturday night that at least 5,867 new cases of the virus were diagnosed over the Sabbath, and that the number of patients in serious condition stood at 492.

Bennett noted in a message to older Israelis late Friday, “Last week, 78 Israeli citizens passed away. Seventy-six of them were over 60 and none of them had completed the three doses of the vaccine.

“The third dose of the vaccine provides protection.

“The third dose of the vaccine is critical for all ages because there is a certain weakening of the vaccine from month to month. The third dose ‘recharges’ the body with a very powerful defense against the Delta strain.

“You, citizens of Israel, are the only people in the world that has a third dose of the vaccine at your disposal. This is not a given.

“We have done this to safeguard your health, and keep the Israeli economy open and guard Israeli citizens’ livelihoods.

“Therefore, you, older citizens and their families, take responsibility for your lives: Call your HMO now or simply go straight to the vaccination center, even without an appointment.

“Until then, keep your distance from other people, and I am certain that you will succeed in watching yourselves,” he said.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.