Health Ministry launches investigation, but notes the man had a long history of serious complicated illnesses.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
The director general of Israel’s Health Ministry said Monday that an elderly man who suffered from a background illness died a few hours after receiving a coronavirus vaccination and the ministry is investigating to see if there is a connection to receiving the vaccine.
“A 75-year-old man from the north of the country, who suffers from active heart disease and malignant disease, and who has had a number of heart attacks in the past, was vaccinated this morning against the coronavirus and died at home shortly after the vaccination,” the ministry said in a statement.
Health Ministry Director General Prof. Hezi Levy appointed an investigation committee headed by the head of the Safety and Quality Division at the Ministry of Health.
“We share in the grief of the family,” Levy said. “Initial testing does not show a link between the unfortunate event and the vaccination, and the vaccination campaign continues.”
The Health Ministry said that as of Monday morning 380,000 Israelis have already received the first dose of the vaccine produced by the U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer, with some 99,000 people across the country getting vaccinated on Sunday.
Health officials are troubled by the low immunization rate in the Arab sector, with fears that Israeli Arabs are affected by false rumors about vaccines, Kan News reported. As a result, the ministry decided to triple its information budget and enlist the help of opinion leaders in the community.
Also on Monday, the IDF launched its own vaccination campaign to inoculate those serving in the armed forces medical system and about 6,000 soldiers who are considered to be at-risk due to background illnesses. The first vaccine recipients in the military will also include members of the IDF General Staff and senior commanders, who will set a personal example for the soldiers.
Israel is in its first day of a national lockdown aimed at reducing the spread of the virus. Although the education system was supposed to remain half-closed with only kindergarten through grade 4 and grades 11-12 going to school, the cabinet overruled health ministry officials and ordered classes to remain open for all grades.
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein slammed what he called the “unfortunate decision to resume schooling in all classrooms – something that will surely extend the closure” beyond the two weeks the government initially planned.
Health statistics released Monday showed an additional 3,499 Israelis tested positive for the virus in the past day with the number of active cases in the country climbing to 35,867. Of those sick with coronavirus, 1,042 of them are hospitalized with 60% of those in hospital listed in serious or critical condition.