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Health experts afraid to speak about COVID vaccines due to threats — official

Prof. Gili Regev-Yochai, director of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit at Sheba Medical Center (YouTube screenshot)
Prof. Gili Regev-Yochai, director of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit at Sheba Medical Center (YouTube screenshot)

Many health experts are afraid of giving media interviews about COVID-19 vaccines due to concrete threats posed by antivaxxer activists, says a senior official at Israel’s largest hospital.

The comments by Prof. Gili Regev-Yochay, the director of Sheba Medical Center’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit, come after the Health Ministry’s director of public health services, Sharon Alroy-Preis, received a security detail due to death threats.

“The threats against Sharon Alroy-Preis are concerning,” Regev-Yochay tells the Ynet news site.

“It begins with incitement and ends way worse. We already had a prime minister who was murdered,” she says, referring to the 1995 assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by a right-wing extremist.

“There are people who don’t want to go and speak to the media about vaccination of children or in general, out of fear,” she says, as the country is set to start vaccinating children aged 5-11 in the coming weeks. “There are people who aren’t voicing their opinions, and that’s a shame.”

Regev-Yochay says she too has been receiving “curses and derision.”

“They call me a Nazi, a ‘child poisoner,’ these sorts of things, mainly surrounding the vaccines. It isn’t comparable to what Sharon is going through. I think it’s shocking and can’t go unanswered.”

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