Just 5% of Arab Israelis have been vaccinated, far lower than general population

Around 5 percent of Arab Israelis had been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus by Wednesday morning, compared to 15% in the general population, according to a report by the Arab Emergency Committee.

While Arab Israelis tend to be younger, thus making fewer of them eligible for the coronavirus vaccine — which is still being given mostly to those 60 and over — the gap persists even among those over 60. The committee finds that 30% of Arab Israelis over 60 had been vaccinated, compared to around 59% of over 60s in the general population.

In a conversation earlier this week, Ahmad al-Sheikh, who compiles the figures, chalked the low rate of vaccination up to problems with accessibility — relatively few vaccination centers have been placed in Arab cities and towns. Some health officials, however, have argued that Arab Israelis are avoiding the coronavirus vaccine due to conspiracy theories about its origin and effects.

A Bedouin woman receives a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a medical center in the Bedouin local council of Segev Shalom near the city of Beersheba, southern Israel, Dec. 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)