Opinion: Israeli anti-vaxxers and anti-restriction brigade are looking to the UK as a model on pandemic; but Israel is in a different place; our only way of avoiding a painful lockdown is to implement curbs on unvaccinated
A teenager receives a dose of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease at Clalit HMO in Tel Aviv (Photo: Reuters)
The Israeli coronavirus discourse has recently been centered around the so-called “British Model,” which saw the United Kingdom lift all its restrictions at once, miraculously leading to an apparent decline in new cases.
Some in Israel, therefor, insist on implementing the model here.
But unfortunately, statistics don’t back the popular interpretation of the reality in the UK. For instance, during the week of August 1-7, the number of coronavirus tests that were carried out dropped by 9.2%, while the number of confirmed cases decreased by only 2.2%, which means the infection rate has actually risen.
They have also recorded an uptick in coronavirus hospitalizations and mortality.
Since the beginning of August, the pandemic in Britain has been spreading, although still at a slower pace, and not receding.
And it won’t recede on its own. Only an efficient, nationwide and resolute combination of vaccines and restrictions will do the job.
As of now, 74% of the adult population in Britain is fully dosed, while in Israel 88% of adults are fully inoculated. It’s hard to admit, but without a vaccination mandate, Israel won’t come close to being 100% vaccinated.
No amount of talking would persuade those who have refused to get vaccinated so far to change their minds. They are living in total denial. Anti-vaxxers in the Jewish public are therefore not bothered by the fact that the stormy demonstrations against vaccines in Poland and France, for example, are organized by neo-fascist movements, often blatantly anti-Semitic.
Prof. Peter Singer, a leading bioethics specialist at Princeton University, is certain that compulsory vaccination is justified and moral because people who refuse vaccines endanger the general public.
He also questions the effectiveness of public awareness campaigns. He gives an example of how U.S. authorities have tried to convince drivers to wear seat belts through different persuasion methods, just to come up with disappointing results. Only after legislation was put in place, did the use of seat belts go up to 90%-95%.
If it is justified by law to require seat belts in cars, which only protect its passengers, so must be the coronavirus vaccine. The government at the very least must restrict the entry of the unvaccinated to any place where they may infect others.
You can spend time at home, work from home, study from home. And if you can’t, you can only blame yourself or anyone who prevented you from getting vaccinated.
Israel is facing a clear choice, either 100% vaccination or a prolonged general lockdown.
To avoid the latter, the state must decree a ban on the vaccinated from entering public sector spaces — government offices, local authorities, educational, health and welfare institutions, and more. The state must also cut ties with private businesses that don’t demand vaccination as a condition to being on its premises.
It would be a shame to waste precious time and wait for a miracle à la Britain, which did not even happen.