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Gantz signs off on plan to use army medics in national flu vaccination effort

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz signs off on a plan to use military medics in the national flu vaccination effort, his office says.

Under this proposal, some 900 Israel Defense Forces medics — conscripts and reservists — who are already taking part in the national coronavirus vaccine campaign, at healthcare clinics and COVID-19 vaccination centers will also inoculate people against the flu. The plan will be voted on during the cabinet’s upcoming meeting on Sunday.

Health officials have raised concerns about a possible “twindemic” of both the coronavirus and the flu this coming winter, which could put yet more stress on the country’s hospitals.

An IDF medic gets vaccinated against the COVID-19 coronavirus at the medical center of Tzrifin military base in Rishon Lezion on December 28, 2020. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

Gantz’s office says the plan to have soldiers also inoculate people against the flu is meant to “increase the number of people vaccinated against the flue and minimize the burdens on hospitals this winter.”

“The entire security establishment and the IDF will continue to assist in all national efforts to fight the coronavirus and to preserve the Israeli economy and Israeli society. Anywhere that the IDF’s operational capabilities can provide solutions, the IDF will be there for Israeli citizens, in full coordination with the healthcare system and all relevant bodies,” Gantz says.

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