Photo by Eitan Elhadez-Barak/TPS on 22 December, 2020

Israel Opens COVID-19 Vaccines to Everyone Aged 16 and Older

Health By Aryeh Savir/TPS • 3 February, 2021

Jerusalem, 3 February, 2021 (TPS) -- All Israelis over the age of 16 will have access to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines, the Ministry of Health announced, making Israel one of the few countries in the world enabling such access.

Director General of the Ministry of Health, Professor Hezi Levy, instructed the Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) to allow vaccinations to be opened to the entire public from the age of 16, starting Thursday.

Despite the new measure, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and Levy instructed the health funds to concentrate efforts on the 50+ age groups and among those confined at home and who cannot arrive at the vaccinations centers.

The health system has noted a significant slowdown in its campaign to vaccinate the population in recent days due to a lack of public interest, leading the Health Ministry to make this move.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the nation on Tuesday night and urged “whoever is watching us this evening, if you have not yet been vaccinated, go and be vaccinated. It is important not only for you, it is important for all of us because it is what will enable us to gradually open the economy and it is what will enable us, mainly, to save lives.”

He said that the national goal should be to vaccinate at least 90% of the 50+ age group within two weeks. This is an achievable goal because 77% of them are already vaccinated, he said.

Over 3,236,800 Israelis have received the first dose of the Pfizer-developed COVID-19 vaccine, some 35% of the population, and over five million doses have been administered in total in the six weeks of the campaign.