PM fetes COVID policy of keeping economy open, ‘pioneering’ booster vaccine

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addresses the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2021. (Screen capture: YouTube)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addresses the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2021. (Screen capture: YouTube)

Bennett presents his government’s model of battling the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it “fuses the wisdom of science with the power of policymaking.”

He says that the economy “must stay open,” arguing that “we all paid a huge price — an economic price, a physical price and an emotional price — for bringing life to a standstill in 2020.”

“Lockdowns, restrictions, quarantines, cannot work in the long run. Our model, rather than locking people down in passive sleep mode, recruits them to the effort. For example, we asked Israeli families to carry out home-testing of their children so we can keep schools open — and indeed schools stayed open.”

Another aspect of the model is early vaccinations, with Bennett touting the moves by both the previous and the current governments to make Israel the first country in the world to offer widespread shots of the first and third doses, respectively.

“We are in a race against a deadly virus and we must try to be ahead of it,” he says, adding that the move on the third dose “was a tough decision, given that at the time the FDA hadn’t yet approved it.

“We faced a choice to either drag Israel into yet another set of lockdowns [and] further harm our economy and society, or to double-down on vaccines. We chose the latter. We pioneered the booster shot.

“Two months in I can report that it works: With a third dose, you’re seven times more protected than with two doses, and 40 times more protected than without any vaccine.

“As a result, Israel is on course to escape the fourth wave without a lockdown, without further harm to our economy. Israel’s economy is growing, and unemployment is down. I’m glad that our actions have inspired other countries to follow with the booster.”

Bennett says that his third rule within this model is “adapt and move quickly,” saying that a national task force to bypass bureaucracy has shown that “trial and error is key.”

“Every day is a new day, with new data and new decisions. When something works, we keep it. When it doesn’t, we ditch it.”

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