On October 3, in about a week and a half, life will change for close to one million Israelis, 900,000 to be exact, who, according to the Health ministry, are eligible to receive the third dose of the Corona vaccine, but have not yet rolled up their sleeves at their local dispensary. So, on October 3, the government is revoking the Green Tag privileges of anyone who received their second dose more than six months ago and has not yet received the third. It’s like that second shot never happened.
To be precise: as of Thursday, 3,128,158 have received the third dose. They’re good to go for, who knows, maybe until Pesach. But for the 6,077,087 who took the first dose, and the 5,599,982 who did the second, but didn’t do the third will be demoted to the rank of unvaccinated, forbidden to partake of the lovely cultural and gastronomic delights of the land.
For anyone who is eligible to receive the third dose but has not yet done so, and wants to keep his or her green tag, better hurry. Even though the expiration date for the green tag will only come in about 10 days, there’s only a four-day window of opportunity until October 3, seeing as there’s a week’s lag between receiving the third dose and getting the Green Tag.
Obviously, when the status of more than 10% of the adults in the country changes so radically, it will affect everyone else. How will businesses deal with the sudden hassle of 900,000 consumers being required to show a negative test to browse their shelves? Speaking of which, how would the labs in Israel, already collapsing under the pressure of daily testing, respond to a million additional tests every couple of days? And what about the schools? Many teachers who have received the second dose have not yet received the booster shot – how would the system manage their new status? Remember, substitute teachers are a rare commodity in Israel these days (if you’re making aliyah – that’s your specialty).
Then there’s the scandal that was generated by Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, who was secretly recorded saying that the whole Green Tag shebang was intended more as a way of putting pressure on anti-vaxers and wasn’t so soundly based on an epidemiological reason.
Yes, government ministers should not muse, especially not vocally, especially when there are other humans nearby.
The owners of restaurants, swimming pools, and gyms were furious and demanded that the Health Ministry cancel the plan to revoke the Green Tag at once (it didn’t). “We’ve been turned into Pfizer sales promoters,” one business owner said.
On Thursday, Israel’s Education Ministry sent a message to school principals that come Sunday, October 3, teaching staff will not be able to enter the educational institutions without a Green Tag or a negative corona test, and the latter would only be good for two or three days (Health Ministry to Teachers: No Vaccine No Green).
“An absence will be considered unjustified and would not qualify for receipt of wages,” read the document that was sent to school principals.
And now the numbers: there are 65,396 active Corona patients in Israel as of Friday morning, with 710 are hospitalized, out of whom 272 are critical, 207 on ventilators, 127 in medium condition, and 187 light. 7,611 have died in Israel since the start of the pandemic in February 2020.