Former Health Ministry Director Moshe Bar SimanTov today commented on the start of vaccinations in the UK and their expected arrival in Israel.
"We're already beginning to see the end of the epidemic, and I would like to congratulate the United Kingdom on the start of the vaccination process for its citizens, hopefully we will start vaccinating in the coming weeks in Israel," he noted.
He said, "Now we have to think about what the day after will look like. Even after the vaccine, some of the restrictions we've adopted will have to remain."
Bar SimanTov made the remarks at the International Conference on Strategic Leadership between Israel, Australia, and the United Kingdom, at the initiative of the Jewish philanthropist and businessman Albert Dadon.
At the annual dialogue conference attended by former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and other senior officials, Bar SimanTov was asked by those present about Israeli policy in dealing with the coronavirus:
Would you force the public to get vaccinated?
"No. But even if only 50% of the population gets vaccinated, there will be a dramatic change. I will get vaccinated and so will my family. This is the most important task - to get the population to get the vaccines and then we can return to as normal a state as possible."
What do you think about GSS surveillance and how long will it last?
"The GSS surveillance wasn't as helpful as we thought it would be. Not all Israelis use smartphones that can be tracked. There were a number of private companies that offered their services for digital surveillance, but we preferred that the government do it under strict supervision. "
What do you think about those who say we should adopt models from abroad, like New Zealand and Taiwan?
"The policy to deal with the epidemic stems from demographic, political, and social considerations, and there is no single model we can replicate. We cannot say we must adopt the Australian, Taiwanese, or New Zealand model. That would simply not be true. Israel is the country with the lowest median age in the world. The percentage of children in the population is high. The average number of children per family is more than three in Israel and that changes the whole picture in relation to other countries."