On Wednesday, coronavirus czar Salman Zarka said that Israel should consider introducing a national vaccine mandate that compels all citizens of the country to get themselves inoculated against COVID-19. This notion is similar to legislation that is being considered in a number of European countries. Zarka said that they had to examine all the options they had and this included the possibility of mandating the vaccine for all citizens. The coronavirus czar stated that this was solely his opinion and is not shared by the Health Ministry. He said that similar to some of the other countries in the world, Israel should consider mandating vaccines, whether my legislation or by other means.
He also asserted that the success of the ongoing inoculation campaign in Israel that had begun earlier this year could be threatened because of the relaxed approach they had taken in implementing it. He stated that Israel’s approach was more inclusive, enabling and gave people time to make their decisions, as opposed to some of the other countries in the world. Zarka said that obviously has a price. He highlighted that 680,000 people have still not gotten inoculated in Israel and that they were trying to reach them constantly.
Zarka said that it was apparent that they were not vaccine refusers, but taking into account the events of the fourth wave of the pandemic that had affected unvaccinated individuals more, it is essential to consider how these people will be vaccinated. Nonetheless, he stressed that they would not introduce any ‘surprise’ legislation that forces people to get vaccinated. He said that he wasn’t familiar with the legal work involved because there wasn’t any legislative work or process that was on the table. The coronavirus czar said that they hadn’t reached the stage where they could introduce a law that mandates vaccines.
Ze’ev Elkin, the Housing Minister, opined that he believes making vaccines mandatory is something that would only happen in a dictatorship. He said that only dictatorial states act in this manner. He went on to add that vaccination could be encouraged and unvaccinated individuals could be given negative incentives, but it shouldn’t be obligated by law. It was only the Vatican that had made vaccines mandatory till now, but there are signs that other European countries will follow suit soon. Austria had announced last month that from February onwards, vaccinations would be made mandatory in the country.
They had already implemented movement restrictions on people who hadn’t recovered from the virus, or gotten vaccinated in early November and it became the first EU country that ordered these people to stay at home. Mandatory shots have also been announced in Greece for people over 60 and fines are imposed if people don’t comply. On Tuesday, Germany’s next chancellor added that he will support the proposal for mandating vaccines in the next year. On Tuesday, MK Yuval Steinitz contacted the Knesset Guard because anti-vaccine activists had threatened him, after his statement that vaccines should be made mandatory for everyone in order to curb the spread of the pandemic.