Sixty-three percent of Israelis plan to get vaccinated for the coronavirus, with numbers highest among senior citizens who COVID-19 has placed at highest risk, according to a survey released Friday.
The poll published in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper found that 24% plan to vaccinate immediately and 39% will “probably get vaccinated, but will wait a little bit.”
Among those above the age of 65, 50% said they plan to vaccinate immediately and 32% said they’ll “probably get vaccinated, but will wait a little bit.”
Eleven percent of the general population will not get vaccinated at all and 17% will not agree to receive the shot in the coming year, the survey found.
This would mean nearly 30% of the public would not be vaccinated in 2021, placing Israel right on the edge of the 60-70% of the population that scientists believe will need to get vaccinated in order to create herd immunity against the coronavirus.
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein told Channel 12 on Friday that he hoped that as more prominent people got vaccinated, public confidence in the vaccine would grow.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Edelstein are set to be the first two Israelis to get the vaccine on Saturday night, followed by other leaders.
The poll also indicated a greater hesitance toward the vaccine among Arab Israelis than their fellow Jewish citizens. While 10% of Jewish Israelis said they would definitely not get vaccinated, 16% of Arab Israelis said the same thing. Twenty-five percent of Jewish Israelis said they would definitely get vaccinated compared to 20% of Arab Israelis.
However, there appeared to be several issues with the poll’s methodology.
Yedioth surveyed 875 people, calling the study “massive,” but that number is right around the threshold of statistical significance given Israel’s size. The poll also weighted heavily toward those 65 and up, who make up over a third of those surveyed, despite making up only about a tenth of the population.
A much larger survey of over 1,100 doctors by Kan found that 82% of them plan on getting shots.
The Health Ministry this week told health maintenance organizations that Israel’s COVID-19 vaccination drive will kick off next week, with members of the general public to begin receiving vaccinations on December 21.
The Health Ministry on Wednesday released a detailed list of who from the general public would be inoculated first when the main vaccine drive kicks off on Sunday.
Topping the list starting Sunday are hospital workers, followed by employees of HMOs, private health clinics and dental offices; medical and nursing students taking part in clinical rounds; members of Magen David Adom and other ambulance services; and residents and caregivers at senior living homes.
Certain members of the general public will start getting vaccinated on Monday or Wednesday, including those in risk groups and anyone over 60.
Next will be Israelis working in jobs with a high risk of exposure to the virus, such as teachers, social workers, first responders, and prison staff (prisoners will also get priority); and Israel Defense Forces soldiers and other security personnel.
Last will come the rest of the population, with a timeline depending on how many doses arrive in Israel and the level of demand by the priority groups. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that if there is a surplus of doses, the general public will be permitted to get the vaccine sooner.
The government set a target of 60,000 vaccinations a day once the drive begins, meaning two million Israelis could be vaccinated by the end of January.