“If you are vaccinated, you can enter!” Israel, the world leader in vaccination against covid-19, launched a controversial “badge” project so that only vaccinated people can access gyms, concerts and restaurants.
In recent days, the ministerial cabinet announced a schedule to remove the country from its third confinement since the beginning of the pandemic through an intensive vaccination campaign, which turns Israel into a small “world laboratory”.
(You may be interested in: What is happening in Verónica’s body after receiving the vaccine)
So far four million Israelis have been vaccinated (45% of the population), of which 2.6 million received the second dose, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Health. This is the highest vaccination rate in the world.
The main health mutual insurance company in the country, Clalit, published a study of 1.2 million people in which it concluded that the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine -the companies with which Israel has a biomedical data exchange agreement – is 94% efficient.
(See the gallery: Photos: The moment of the first covid vaccination in Colombia)
With an effective vaccine and a high percentage of the vaccinated population, the authorities plan to gradually reopen gyms, museums, shopping centers, restaurants and cafes starting Sunday. But not to everyone. The government announced a system of “badges”, purple for those who are not vaccinated or have only received one dose and green for those who have received their second injection or are “recovered” from covid-19.
Green and purple
Shopping centers, libraries, museums, cafes and some places of worship will open in “purple”, that is, for everyone. And gyms, sporting and cultural events, restaurants (with reservation) will be open to holders of the “green badge”, that is, to those who have a double vaccination or recovery certificate.
We are advancing in a responsible deconfinement in the form of ‘If you are vaccinated, you can enter
“We are advancing in a responsible deconfinement in the form of ‘If you are vaccinated, you can enter'”, said the minister of Defense, Benny Gantz, on this measurement, that could be difficult to apply in the companies.
In addition to the “badges”, Israelis who have received both doses will also be able to receive a “green passport” that allows them to enter the country after a trip abroad without having to comply with quarantine, but on the condition that they have a negative covid-19 test.
At the beginning of the pandemic, intelligence services had resorted to counter-terrorism measures to locate people who had been in contact with others who had contracted COVID-19, causing controversy and prompting politicians to stop the initiative.
This time, the government encourages people to get vaccinated, but it also wants to find a “delicate balance” between public health and respect for individual freedoms, Hagai Levine, a professor and researcher of public health at the Hebrew University, told AFP. of Jerusalem.
“En Israel, everyone over the age of 16 can get vaccinated free of charge (…) and I think you have to get vaccinated. But it is also a right not to want to do it and in this sense the government cannot force anyone, “he says.
The “badge” and “passport” covid They appear as authorities try to encourage vaccination among the very young, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struggles to revive the economy ahead of the March 23 elections, crucial for his political survival.
(Don’t stop reading: Colombians abroad talk about their experience with the vaccine)
According to official data, 96% of people between 70 and 80 years old, who are most vulnerable to covid-19, have received at least one dose of the vaccine, a rate that drops to 44% among young people between 20 and 29 years, in a country that has no vaccine supply problems.
“The authorities should have implemented this measure [los distintivos] a month before (…) but this is clearly part of Netanyahu’s campaign for reelection, “ Levine points out.