“Everyone is impressed by Israeli vaccination, but I don’t think we’re a success story”

“Everyone is impressed by Israeli vaccination, but I don’t think we’re a success story”

Despite early gains, Israel’s vaccine rollout is still leaving far too many people out, says one expert.

Israel was originally praised for its approach to covid-19 vaccine distribution, and was hailed as a model for how to get things done. But the picture that has emerged since is a lot more complicated. Covid-19 infections have reached record highs, and a new lockdown has been extended until the end of January. Meanwhile, there is inequality and political turmoil behind the headlines, with the UN among those criticizing Israel for refusing to share its vaccines with some 4.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. 

We spoke with Hadas Ziv, the head of policy and ethics at Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, about that country’s successes and setbacks. She was part of the expert team that presented covid-19 vaccine policy recommendations to the Israeli government, and the group was among those petitioning for prisoners to be vaccinated. 

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Q: If you’re an Israeli citizen who wants a vaccine, what steps do you need to take?

A: It’s very easy. You’re notified that you’re eligible, either by an SMS, or you can just go into the site of your [healthcare provider], and immediately you see whether you’re eligible or not.