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PM orders opening of overnight stations in other cities

Overnight mass vaccine drive held at Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Square

Vaccine stations to operate until 4 a.m. Sunday, with aim of getting shots in arms of partygoers, youngsters who aren’t yet immunized; those over 50 can also get boosters

Israelis line up to receive coronavirus vaccines at a vaccination station operated by the Magen David Adom ambulance service, in Tel Aviv, on August 14, 2021. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Israelis line up to receive coronavirus vaccines at a vaccination station operated by the Magen David Adom ambulance service, in Tel Aviv, on August 14, 2021. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The Magen David Adom ambulance service and the Tel Aviv Municipality began a mass coronavirus vaccine drive Saturday night, lasting until early morning, targeting partygoers and youths in the coastal city who have yet to be vaccinated.

Along with anyone who hasn’t gotten a first or second dose, a statement from MDA said anyone over 50 may get a booster shot.

Vaccine stations were set up around Dizengoff Square, operating from 8 p.m. Saturday until 4 a.m. Sunday, with dozens of MDA staff administering the shots.

The ambulance service’s chief Eli Bin stressed that anyone could get vaccinated at the stations — regardless of age or whether they have insurance or any sort of residency status.

“In the past year it has been proven to us how the vaccines are effective and prevent infection and serious morbidity. In these days, when the number of infections is climbing each day, we consider it of paramount importance to launch a vaccination drive and make the vaccines accessible, without the need to make an appointment, free of charge,” he said in a statement.

The Health Ministry also helped put together the overnight vaccine drive, as it aims to boost immunization rates amid a resurgence in COVID cases that has led the government to reimpose restrictions.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett later said that he ordered the opening of other nighttime vaccine stations in large Israeli cities for the next few evenings, with a statement from his office citing the “great demand” in Tel Aviv.

“This is the saving of lives and night inoculations allow people who do not want to miss work to get vaccinated without an appointment at unconventional hours. We will continue to make every effort to vaccinate everyone who is willing and able,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.

Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine are pictured at a Magen David Adom mobile vaccination in Tel Aviv, on July 5, 2021. (Jack Guez/AFP)

Last month, Israel became the first country in the world to begin administering booster shots to those over 60, and became a pioneer once again on Friday, as it began giving third doses to people older than 50. As of Saturday evening, 860,137 people in Israel have received the booster.

Out of Israel’s population of some 9.3 million, over 5.8 million have received at least one vaccine dose, while more than 5.4 million have gotten two.

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