Countries around the world are working through their doses of vaccines for Covid-19 while also planning how to reopen sectors of their countries and economies. No one is as far ahead as Israel is with a quickly-growing population number having received the vaccine. Here is how they look at it going forward.
“Whoever Does Not Get Vaccinated Will Be Left Behind”
By this, he is referring to the coming “Green Pass” system that will kick off starting this weekend (Sunday). It allows for the restrictions on certain leisure activities to be lifted (after a long time in their third lockdown) – but only for those people in Israel who have received the vaccine.
This will be followed in two weeks by restaurants and other large gathering areas to open with the same system, allowing those who have been vaccinated to take advantage of the openings. This has already been trialed in certain areas where they allowed vaccinated citizens to shop or otherwise engage in local business endeavors.
With Israel relying so heavily on tourism, it is no surprise that they are in a major hurry to get their nation vaccinated (other than the obvious reason that they want to stop the virus). They have already made plans with Greece, Cyprus, and talks are in place for similar arrangements with Spain and Portugal to allow visitors to go back and forth between those countries – if they have received the vaccine.
According to Israel, though, this will also include allowing those who have had the virus and fully recovered from it. There are over 700,000 people in Israel who have recovered from the virus and are not eligible to get the vaccine so this will cover them as well. So, these measures will allow those in that situation and those with the vaccine to start making their way back to a somewhat normal life.
For a while, “normal life” will look like this (from the Times of Israel):
Street-front shops, malls, markets, museums, and libraries will be open to all Israelis. But only those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 will be able to use gyms and pools, attend sporting and culture events, and stay at hotels.
Furthermore, the government will allow outdoor gatherings of up to 20 people, and indoor gatherings of up to 10, starting Friday morning. The previous rules restricted outdoor gatherings to 10 people and indoors to five.
What is the “Green Pass” System?
The Green Pass system is a document or an electronic version which can be obtained to show your vaccination status. Only those who have received both doses of the vaccine will be eligible for the Green Pass. It will have a QR code that will be scanned at various locations.
There are already thousands counterfeiting these QR code approvals since there are not security protocols built in to them – just the basic information that is already on the form. But, the punishment for counterfeiting these passes could include jail time so definitely not something people will want to try!
Finally, the health minister said, “There will be no forced vaccination in Israel; those who choose not to be vaccinated — it is their choice.” He added that there “won’t be any personal sanctions against those who do not vaccinate.”
Yet, for now, only those vaccinated or those that have recovered will be able to access gyms, events, hotels, and synagogues.
There will be a lot of countries watching how Israel handles everything right now since they are in the lead with vaccinations. While leaders will want to encourage vaccinations, even in Israel the amount of people who choose to not get them is still high (25% in Israel) so it will remain to be seen how they work through all of this.
If you plan on traveling to Israel for any events or tours this year, getting the vaccine may be the only way you can do that – at least until more information comes in the next month or so.