Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, got a jab of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine in an event broadcast live, hoping to lead by example as polls showed a high level of mistrust to the immunization drive among Israelis.
The ceremonial injection took place at Sheba Medical Center near Tel-Aviv on Saturday, with Netanyahu sticking to his earlier promise and becoming the first person in the country to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
He got a shot of the immunization jointly developed by US pharma giant, Pfizer, and Germany’s BioNTech. Israel, which plans to launch vaccination of the general public next week, has so far received 300,000 doses of the inoculation, but expects to be in possession of 3.8 million doses by the end of December.
“A small injection for a man and a giant step for the health of us all,” the PM said, rephrasing the iconic words, said by the first man to step on the Moon, US astronaut Neil Armstrong. The Israeli leader said he was feeling “terrific” after the jab.
By launching the vaccination campaign Israel was “leaving the darkness of the coronavirus” and setting off on a journey to “a great light,” Netanyahu, who faced harsh criticism and large scale protests over his handling of the Covid-19 outbreak, said as cited by The Times of Israel.
“If everyone cooperates, keeps the rules and goes to get vaccinated, we’ll get out of this and we could well be the first country in the world to emerge from this [the pandemic]. Let’s do it together.”
Netanyahu said that by becoming the first recipient of the coronavirus vaccine in the country he wanted to set “a personal example so that all Israelis would go and vaccinate themselves.”
It remains to be seen if Israelis will heed the advice and follow the suit en mass. A new poll published on Friday suggested that the vast majority of Israelis are weary of getting vaccinated right away.
The survey, released by Ynet News, showed that less than 25 percent of Israelis were ready to receive coronavirus shots immediately. A poll by Haifa University conducted on Tuesday put the number of those willing to be in the forefront at around 20 percent.
Still, some two-thirds of the Israeli’s total population or 64 percent reported that they plan to get the jab, albeit in the long run, according to the Ynet poll. This, however, falls short of Netanyahu’s vision for all Israelis, without exception, to be vaccinated, and a Hayom poll last week showed that one-third (37 percent) of Israelis are poised to refuse the vaccination.
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