At a press conference with Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he hopes to vaccinate the entire over-16 population by the end of March and fully open up the country by April.
Senior officials in the Health Ministry tell Channel 12 they were not briefed on Netanyahu’s presentation ahead of time and say they are not aware of the details of his plan.
“There are over a million Israeli adults who have not even gotten one vaccine dose and could still fall seriously ill and God forbid die. All over the world people are waiting for vaccines. In Israel, vaccines are waiting for people. We need to change that now,” Netanyahu says.
Edelstein says the upcoming Purim holiday “must not be reminiscent in any way of last year’s Purim and the results we saw from those revelries.”
“Remember, the children are not yet vaccinated. Let’s protect them and avoid parades and parties.”
Netanyahu also acknowledges that Israel will transfer vaccines to other countries.
“I decided [to do it], and we sent symbolic numbers that do not deprive a single Israeli citizen of a vaccine,” he says.
“It was done in return for things we already received, through many contacts in various areas that I will not detail here,” Netanyahu says. “I think it absolutely buys goodwill.”