Israel becomes 1st country to offer vaccines to anyone over 16

Israel’s HMOs will inoculate any citizen over the age of 16, starting on Thursday.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

After an announcement by Israel’s Health Ministry on Wednesday, the Jewish State has become the first country in the world to offer coronavirus vaccines to nearly all its citizens.

As Israel’s morbidity rate remains high despite a third nationwide lockdown, Israel’s HMOs will inoculate any citizen over the age of 16, starting on Thursday.

With the world’s leading per capita vaccination rate, more than 3.2 million Israelis have received their first vaccine shot. Nearly 2 million people, or 20 percent of Israel’s population, have been fully vaccinated with both doses.

But due to restrictions that meant the vaccine could only be administered to those in high risk groups or over the age of 35, vaccination rates had plummeted in recent days.

Local media reported clinics throwing away thousands of unused doses, leading to more permissive distribution of the jabs at the end of the day.

“When the operation started, we would check everyone, by appointment and by year of birth on the ID card,” a security guard at a Tel Aviv vaccination center told Israel Hayom.

“Today, they are much more flexible… We let in basically everyone who comes, and let the staff inside decide whether to vaccinate them. From what I saw at least today, everyone who comes in is vaccinated.”

Reut, 24, told Israel Hayom that she was turned down for vaccinations multiple times.

“I ran to all kinds of vaccination centers, where Facebook groups reported that there were vaccines left, but either there was a huge queue, or they just refused to vaccinate me because I was too young,” she said.

She tried again after seeing reports about surplus doses being discarded. “After yesterday, I saw that… the health funds are stuck with an excess of vaccines… I called the center, and this time, to my delight, they told me ‘just come and get vaccinated.’

“The vaccine itself did not hurt at all and I am already waiting to get a second dose and finish with it, and then fly off to a trip I have been dreaming of for a long time.”