Survey shows only 18% of Israelis would refuse vaccination, which should start in coming weeks as infections continue rising.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
A majority of Israelis are willing to get vaccinated when new coronavirus vaccines arrive and are distributed, Israel Hayom reported Sunday.
The survey by professors at three different Israeli schools of higher learning showed 61% of Israelis are interested receiving the coronavirus vaccine, 18% would refuse to be vaccinated and 21% are still undecided.
“Many people are worried about getting vaccinated because this is a new vaccine with as-of-yet unknown side effects,” said Professor Shosh Sharabani, one of the investigators. “It may be that concerns over the vaccine in fact increase in instanced where the public is offered a grant to be vaccinated.”
With Health Ministry statistics Sunday showing a continued rise in cases, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Israelis they have to stay on track with health guidelines until after the country is vaccinated.
“We can see the light at the end of the epidemic, but until then I repeat and say – all of us must continue to adhere to the guidelines,” Netanyahu said. “Unfortunately, this apparently is not happening the way we wanted it to, because in the past days we are seeing a steep and alarming increase in morbidity.”
Statistics released Sunday showed an additional 986 new infections in the past day. Although lower than the 1,506 infections reported Friday, the new number is for fewer than half the tests giving a positivity rate for the tests of just under four percent.
All coronavirus numbers are on the rise in Israel, with 13,340 Israelis currently sick with the virus, up almost 4,000 from a week ago. Of the 568 Israelis hospitalized with the virus, 336 are listed in serious condition, and the death toll rose to 2,916 since the beginning of the pandemic.
With the annual Chanukah holiday set to start Thursday evening, Netanyahu said the cabinet would hear from Health Ministry experts Sunday before making any decision on closures or an evening curfew during the holiday.
During Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, Jews traditionally gather with family and friends to light candles each evening to mark each day of the holiday. Health officials have weighed imposing an evening curfew to restrict gatherings to immediate family only in order to prevent wider infections.
In the Palestinian territories, the coronavirus appears to be spiraling out of control. The Palestinian Authority cabinet will meet Monday with health officials recommending a minimum two-week total lockdown, the Safa News agency reported. In Ramallah, the Palestinian health ministry reported 838 new coronavirus infections Saturday, not including Gaza, with 25,000 active cases, almost twice the number of cases in Israel.
In Gaza, health officials from the Hamas terror organization reported 726 new cases and five deaths Sunday morning. However, with only 2,000 tests performed, the positivity rate in Gaza is an alarming 37%.