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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Israel flies diplomats home for Covid vaccine

The exercise is being managed by Israel’s Foreign, Health and Transportation ministries. The diplomats are being quarantined in a hotel until they receive the vaccine, and will stay there under observation for a few days.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi |
Updated: February 9, 2021 3:47:09 am
Israel diplomats Covid vaccine, Ron Malka Covid vaccine, israel, israel covid vaccine, israel coronavirus lockdown, israel covid cases, covid vaccine, indian express newsAmbassador Ron Malka gets his second dose. (Source: @DrRonMalka)

Over the weekend, 11 Israeli diplomats and staff based in India were flown down to Israel for their vaccination against Covid-19. Israel, which rolled out its vaccine programme on December 20, has been flying down its diplomats from overseas for the exercise.

Israel’s vaccination drive has been moving rapidly, with over a third of its 9.3 million population already inoculated with the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and more than a fifth of the population receiving their second shot, according to data released by the Israeli health ministry.

On Monday, after getting the second dose of the vaccine, three weeks after he got the first dose, Israel’s ambassador Ron Malka tweeted: “Fully #vaccinated! Delighted to share that I’ve received the second dose of the #COVID19 vaccine in #Israel. I express my heartfelt gratitude to all frontline healthcare workers & medical teams. Let us defeat this pandemic together.”

After Israel’s Prime Benjamin Netanyahu — who led the government’s “give a shoulder” programme to instil confidence for the vaccine among people and was among the first to get vaccinated – Israel’s diplomats have begun coming from abroad to get themselves vaccinated. Majority of them are being given Pfizer, while Moderna is also an option.

The exercise is being managed by Israel’s Foreign, Health and Transportation ministries. The diplomats are being quarantined in a hotel until they receive the vaccine, and will stay there under observation for a few days.

Sources said the Israeli government felt that it was “logistically impossible” to fly the vaccines to other countries, and would not have saved money either. So, diplomats are being brought home for the vaccination campaign.

From India, a group of diplomats stationed in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore received the coronavirus vaccine on Sunday and will be isolated in a hotel until their return in the coming days.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told the local media that he “sees a great importance in vaccinating diplomats and their families and protecting their health”.

A new study in Israel indicates that Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine provides at least 50 per cent protection 10 days after the first shot, and this figure climbs to 95 per cent a week after the second shot. The data from Israel is very similar to the conclusions reached by Pfizer in its Stage III clinical trials.

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