Friday, December 25, 2020

Controversy erupts around Health Ministry plan to vaccinate on Shabbat

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein announced on Thursday that he had ordered an expansion of the coronavirus vaccine operation to 24 hours a day, including on weekends.

"The State of Israel is in a health campaign unlike any other since the establishment of the state. In recent days, mutations that infect at a rapid and irregular pace that we had not yet encountered were located and we are in a race against time," said Edelstein's office. "The more citizens we vaccinate quickly, the more we will save lives. Therefore, the Health Minister instructed the director-general of his office to act to provide vaccines 24/7, to recruit manpower for this purpose, and to reach a rate of more than 100,000 vaccines a day. The coronavirus endangers us all, the vaccines will save us all."
A senior United Torah Judaism official responded to the Health Ministry's statement, attacking the minister, saying, "Edelstein is violating his commitment to the head of the ultra-Orthodox sector. Vaccines on Shabbat are contrary to his commitment to us!"
In addition, Israel's Chief Rabbi David Lau also addressed the issue, noting that he sees great importance in giving vaccines to the general public and has even been vaccinated in public to encourage the public to get vaccinated. The chief rabbi stated that he "believes that as long as there are vaccinations during all hours of the day and night during the week, which in practice indicates urgency to vaccinate as quickly as possible, it will be possible to consider allowing vaccinations on Shabbat as well. At this stage, even on weekdays, vaccinations are still not performed at all hours of the day and night, but at reception hours, so at this stage there is no permit for breaking Shabbat."

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