Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after receiving the first anti-coronavirus vaccine in Israel on Saturday night: “I feel great; go get vaccinated. We are emerging from the darkness of the coronavirus into a great light. I want to again thank the Health Minister, the Ministry of Health, all of the medical crews, MDA, the volunteers, everybody.”
Israel’s three leading Hebrew-language news channels – 11, 12, and 13 – broadcast the vaccination live. Clips of that video were shown overnight on CNN, Fox News, France 24, Sky, Chinese TV News in English, and probably hundreds more. Sky was the only major channel to express some skepticism at the PM’s motives in rolling up his sleeve, everyone else recognized that, glamour and politics aside, around a third of the global population are hesitating to accept the vaccine, which could damage the effort to build herd immunity that requires 75% participation.
“It is precisely at this time that I ask that everybody be strict about the rules: Distance, hands, masks and avoiding gatherings,” Netanyahu added. “If everyone is vaccinated quicker we will thereby restore life to the normality that we knew quicker, especially the economy. We will invest more resources and efforts in order to restore what was. We need your help; it depends on all of us.”
Starting early Sunday morning, the medical staff at Sheba Tel Hashomer Medical Center and Ichilov Hospital began to receive the vaccine. One of the first among them was the former Corona Czar, Prof. Ronni Gamzu, who is back at the helm at Ichilov.
Finance Minister Israel Katz (Likud) was also vaccinated at Ichilov. The HMOs’ medical staff as well as the staff in hospitals across Israel are also expected to be vaccinated on Sunday.
President Reuven Rivlin was vaccinated at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, following which he said: “We are all in the same boat, whoever gets vaccinated will take care of his own health and the health of those around him. The concerns are legitimate but it is important to remember that the vaccines have been approved by serious agencies such as the US Food and Drug Administration and the Israeli Health Ministry. You can trust them.”
Netanyahu concluded his statement Saturday night saying, “If everybody cooperates, both in strictly adhering to the rules and in being vaccinated, we will emerge from this and it is very likely that Israel will be the first country in the world to do so.”