Israel has opened a Covid vaccination centre in a bar and is offering a free drink to anyone who gets a shot to encourage young people to get vaccinated.
Tel Aviv‘s Jenia gastropub, which has been closed for long period during the pandemic, opened its doors to serve punters a different type of shot on Thursday.
More than 43 per cent of Israel’s 9million population has already received at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, health ministers say, mostly among older people.
But there are fears that younger people, who are much less at risk from Covid, will be less eager to get the jabs – leading to novel ideas to tempt them in.
A bar in Tel Aviv is now offering punters a very different kind of shot after being turned into a temporary vaccination centre
Young people arriving to get vaccinated at the bar are being given free drink tokens that can be redeemed at the bar
‘I thought it is a really good opportunity to come and get the vaccine, because I didn’t have either the time or the ability to go to other places,’ said May Perez, among dozens of people who turned up for their first shots.
Israel has been hailed for running a world-beating vaccine programme that has seen it vaccinate a greater share of its population than any other country.
But the rate of people taking up the vaccine has dropped drastically in recent weeks as the roll-out extends beyond the elderly and vulnerable and into lower-risk groups.
Meanwhile, doctors have reported seeing an increase in younger people ending up in hospital – the vast majority of whom have not been vaccinated.
While that is encouraging, because it means the vaccine works, health officials say the challenge now is in convincing more people to get it.
Professor Eyal Leshem, an infectious diseases expert at Israel’s largest hospital, Sheba, told Sky News: ‘You really need to convince them.
‘You need to prepare your communication, move to work in social media, move and work with community leaders, opinion leaders, even celebrities, just making sure that people understand it’s safe and it’s really important for everyone to get vaccinated so we can get back to normal life.’
Meanwhile promising studies from Professor Leshem’s hospital suggested that a firt dose of Pfizer vaccine is 85 per cent effective against coronavirus infection between two and four weeks after inoculation.
Israel has been running the world’s fastest inoculation programme but it has begun slowing down as the jab is offered to younger people, who are less at risk from Covid
Doctors in Israel say they are seeing increasing numbers of young people end up in hospital as the vaccine protects older people from serious illness
Studies carried out in Israel suggest Pfizer’s jab, which the country is using for its roll-out (pictured), could be up to 94 per cent effective at preventing the disease
The survey was carried out on healthcare workers at the hospital.
The Lancet report focused on more than 9,000 medical staff at Sheba hospital near Tel Aviv. Some 7,000 of them received the first dose, and the rest were not inoculated.
From the group, 170 were diagnosed with Covid-19 after tests carried out only on those showing symptoms or who had been in contact with coronavirus carriers.
Fifty-two percent of them were found to have not been vaccinated.
Comparing the two groups, the Sheba study calculated that the vaccine was 47 percent effective between one and 14 days after inoculation, rising to 85 percent after 15 to 28 days.
‘What we see is a really high effectiveness already right after two weeks, between two weeks to four weeks after vaccine, already high effectiveness of 85 percent reduction of symptomatic infection,’ Gili Regev-Yochay, co-author of the study, told a small group of journalists.
He said that despite the vaccine being ‘amazingly effective’, scientists are still studying whether fully vaccinated people can transmit the virus to others.
‘That is the big, big, question. We are working on it. This is not on this paper and I hope we will have some good news soon,’ said Regev-Yochay.
Israel has delivered a shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to 4.23 million residents, or 47 percent of its nine million population, 2.85 million of whom have received the recommended full course of two jabs, latest health ministry figures show.