Coronavirus: When will vaccines return to normal life?

JERUSALEM – After receiving the first dose of the COVID vaccine in December, Jonathan Livny, 77, assumed that his last life would return to normal for similar Israelis.

Livny, who lives in Jerusalem, was among the first Israelis to catch the bullet, and received a full vaccine in January. He received his “green passport” – an official certificate of infection.

But almost a month later, the passport has done him a lot of good. Even though he is now at much lower risk, Livny still has to adhere to the country’s strict locking measures, which prevent everyone from a wide range of recreational activity at least vaccinated or not.

The restrictions hit home for Livny a week or two ago. He and his wife, a plastic surgeon, travel frequently, and had planned a trip to Dubai at the end of the month for a medical conference. Their trip was canceled, however, when Israel closed its airport to contain the virus.

“I thought it would be a health passport and a passport to freedom,” Livny said. “Now they are saying they are not sure if the vaccine works against the British or South African version. Then I thought it would be a passport to travel. But now if I want to travel, I have to test 72 hours before I leave and then when I return I have to do it again. So what good will it do me? “

Israel’s aggressive vaccination campaign has become a matter of national pride, but it has yet to return to much-anticipated pre-pandemic times. Even though more than 40% of Israelis have received at least a dose of the vaccine, far more than the rest of the world, COVID levels remain high, and the vaccination campaign has grown. slower.

Now, as Israel emerges from a six-week lockout, the third since the pandemic began, businesses and supporters are opposing a reopening they are seeking. a feeling that has been too slow. Three major shopping centers – in the cities of Bat Yam, Karmiel and Petach Tivkah – opened on Thursday in violation of government regulations. It was part of a revolution started by a forum representing 400 slow-moving owners, restaurant owners and chain stores.

The group made its own rules governing who was allowed into stores – ultimately allowing Israelis to use their “green licenses”. Admission was restricted to those over 60 with two doses of vaccine, or anyone younger who had at least one vision, recovered from COVID or tested negative in the past 72 hours . Children 16 and under were also allowed in.

Police officers visited the stores and ordered them to close but did not fine them.

“There is no difference between malls, which are closed, and supermarkets or drug stores, which are open,” said Yaakov Kantrowitz, 26, branch manager of a housing chain in a strip center in downtown Rishon Lezion. He complained that the government “said people were getting corona in malls, but they have been closed for the past six weeks and disease levels have not gone down. That proves that we are not the cause of disease. “

Kantrowitz has not reopened but found an innovative approach: The store began offering take-away shops on Sundays.

“We have a table in front of the entrance with a catalog, people choose what they want, and [employees] bring it to them, ”he said. “Restaurants are allowed to take food with them, so why aren’t there stores too?”

Police have not visited his shop, Kantrowitz said, and he is careful not to let anyone inside even though it is spacious, measuring 10,000 square feet. The store has been closed for a total of four months over the past year, and all 30 employees have been put on a furlough. Kantrowitz has now recruited five staff back and hopes to open stores and malls soon.

The government is considering a series of rules that will ban access to places like gyms, concerts and museums – and finally cafes and restaurants – for those who have either “green permits” or negative COVID test within 72 hours. Some schools have reopened on Thursday after six weeks of isolated learning – the latest in a series of school closures in Israel that have been going on for months. The government can ask all teachers to be vaccinated or tested every two days.

Israel is also considering an agreement with Greece to allow intercountry tourism for those receiving the vaccine.
But a section of Israelis are still willing to get the bullet. While the Israeli vaccine distribution has vaccinated up to 200,000 people daily, the pace has slowed dramatically in the past week. According to government data, while more than 90% of Israelis over 60 have been vaccinated, the equivalent figure is 70% for haredi, or ultra-orthodox estimates, and 64% for Arab Israelis.

With some vaccination centers half-empty, local towns are trying to find an incentive to get rates back. In the city of haredi Bnei Brak, where vaccination rates are among the lowest in the country, first responders told residents that if they received the vaccine on Thursday night, they would receive They are a free service of cholent, meat stew popular with Orthodox people.

“We welcome the initiative by Bnei Brak to provide bags of cholent to those receiving the vaccine tomorrow,” Zaka, an Orthodox emergency medical service, tweeted. on the introduction of unvaccinated persons [body] bags for over a year. Get vaccinated! “

Israeli Haredi tend to be vaccinated at even lower rates as the percentage of deaths in their community has been particularly high. A recent study found that 1 in 73 Israeli haredi over 65 years had died from COVID, about four times the general population. Despite the lockout, some haredi Israelis have banned schools and reopened schools, as well as gathered in large crowds for funerals.

Vaccine suspicion extends beyond the haredi community. While most endangered Israelis have hastened to get the vaccine, some of the youngest Israelis are more frozen about getting the vaccine.

Adina Arazi, 47, who lives in the southern city of Netivot and teaches hydrotherapy, said she is not against vaxxer. Her two children, a 20-year-old son with special needs and a 16-year-old daughter, received their traditional childhood immunizations. But this time no one in her family is getting the vaccine from COVID.

“I feel like we’ve moved a little too fast,” she said. “I think it’s going to take a long time to see the long-term effects. They’re basically studying people, which which I think is very immoral. “

With all swimming pools closed, Arazi has been out of work for the past year. She said she is cutting back on anything unnecessary, and that her family in Canada is helping. Arazi said she will not receive the vaccine even though it means she will not be able to go back to work.

Deborah, 44, who has asked for her last name not to be released because she does not want some of her relatives to know she will not be vaccinated, feels even more strongly that she should not for herself and her family to get vaccinated. Despite assurances from doctors that the vaccine will not cause infertility, Deborah plans to wait until the end of the year before she and her four children take the pictures.

“There is a complete lack of evidence that the vaccine will have any effect on male or female infertility,” Dr. Hagai Levine, an epidemiologist at Hadassah Hospital, told a news conference Thursday.

But for Deborah, who said she read the entire Pfizer review online, those promises are not enough.

“Being a mother is a big concern for me, and my daughter was just 16, so I started studying her,” she said. “They haven’t tested the vaccine on 16-year-olds. A doctor can’t any to say that there will be no side effects.

“What if she can’t get pregnant in a few years?” It was the end of her life and I would feel responsible. “