As Israel’s vaccination campaign has slowed down to a crawl in recent weeks, the Health Ministry is considering a variety of options to encourage more Israelis to vaccinate, such as sanctioning those who don’t vaccinate and businesses that accept them.
The measures would be part of Israel’s “Green Passport” program, which would allow those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from the coronavirus to access non-essential businesses, such as gyms, hotels, restaurants, and stadiums.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that “whoever doesn’t vaccinate endangers us all because they can cause the health system to collapse.”
“Those who don’t get vaccinated will only spend time in supermarkets and pharmacies, while those who get vaccinated will go to stadiums and gyms,” Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said.
Completely banning non-vaccinated Israelis from non-essential businesses is not legally viable but requiring a negative coronavirus test every 48 hours may be instituted instead, with the hope that the expense and inconvenience will spur people to get vaccinated.
“If they are required to pay a few dozen shekels [fora COVID test] every couple days so they can enter their workplace, gym or restaurant, it will encourage them to get vaccinated,” a Health Ministry official told Channel 12.
The government is considering legislation allowing employers to prevent non-vaccinated employees from coming into the office and non-vaccinated teachers from returning to their classrooms unless they present a negative coronavirus test every 48 hours. Similar legislation regarding employees in contact with the public, such as healthcare workers and bus drivers, is also being considered.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)