Government said to weigh lottery between vaccines to encourage vaccines
The government is reportedly considering incorporating the national lottery into its vaccination campaign, as it seeks to engage the more than one million Israelis who have yet to be vaccinated to do so.
A budget of around $ 31 million has been earmarked for national and local authorities to help entice vaccine laggards, Channel 12 reported on Friday, but Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Home Secretary Ayelet Shaked did not haven’t decided on the best way to spend it yet.
One option being considered is to offer more funding to local authorities with higher immunization rates, to encourage local leaders to increase immunization rates, the network said. Another proposal would see individuals compensated directly, with hundreds of shekels offered to families for every child over 15 or 16 who is vaccinated.
Another option being considered is to recruit the National Lottery, which would involve holdouts who get vaccinated in a raffle, with one winner receiving a grand prize and 100 to 200 others receiving prizes worth tens of thousands of shekels. in total, Channel 12 reported. .
Bennett, Shaked and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman all back the initiative, according to the report, but it has faced legal hurdles as it is only accessible to certain parts of the population.
Channel 12 also reported that Shaked was seeking to move forward with a plan to immunize eligible children in schools, despite opposition from Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton, who made a series of controversial comments. to defend those who refuse to vaccinate. It was not clear if such a plan could go ahead without Shasha-Biton’s approval.
Meanwhile, the health ministry has held discussions in recent days to determine when it will recommend a nationwide lockdown.
According to the network, health experts have determined that a lockdown will be necessary if and when Israel reaches a total of 600 to 700 critically ill patients. The number of severe cases stood at 257 on Friday, but the figure has risen rapidly in recent days.
Anonymous health officials told the network that even if the government “pressed the breaks” to 600-700 cases, the number would likely rise to 1,200-1,400.
However, officials noted that if they see a decrease in severe cases following the campaign to distribute a third reminder to Israelis over 60, the government may be able to suspend another lockdown.
The network said another factor that could prevent a lockdown would be a drop in the virus’s baseline reproduction number – or the number of new cases each infected person creates.
Separately on Friday, Channel 13 reported that the Department of Health was expanding its rollout of the third dose of the vaccine and had asked mental hospitals across the country to give employees and patients over 40 a booster.
In geriatric wards and nursing homes, employees over 40 and hospital patients over 18 will be vaccinated with a third dose, according to the report. The vast majority of patients at these facilities are elderly, but some younger people with disabilities also live in these hospitals and would be eligible for a recall.
Earlier on Friday, the health ministry reported nearly 4,000 new cases of coronavirus the day before, before new restrictions take effect next week.
According to ministry figures, 3,858 infections were confirmed on Thursday, the fourth day in a row that 3,000 new cases have surpassed 3,000. There have been 28,329 active cases out of 893,105 verified infections in Israel since the start of the season. pandemic.
Severe cases – a key metric used by policymakers in the current wave – fell slightly to 257. Of these, 61 people were in critical condition, 48 of whom were on ventilators. A total of 481 have been hospitalized for complications related to COVID-19.
The death toll stood at 6,516, with seven more added on Friday.
According to the ministry, 3.80% of the more than 100,000 tests carried out Thursday were tested positive.
The ministry also said that of the estimated 9.3 million inhabitants of Israel, more than 5.8 million have received at least one dose of the vaccine, nearly 5.4 million have received two and just under. 350,000 received a recall.
Amid a continued rise in cases, ministers on Thursday approved a significant extension of restrictions on gatherings under the Green Pass system, despite reluctance over an 11th hour decision to exempt places of worship.
Starting Sunday, gatherings of any size, indoors and outdoors, will be limited to those who have been vaccinated, recovered from the virus, or who test negative for COVID, as part of the Green Pass system, which will also extend to hotels, restaurants and gymnasiums.