Yediot Aharonot reported that the Health Ministry is expected to recommend a mandatory vaccine law to deal with vaccine refusers. The move aims to coerce members of public who reject vaccination to allow themselves to be injected, although the legal validity of such a move may be in question.
The subject arose after an announcement by pharmaceutical conglomerate Pfizer claiming that its experimental COVID-19 vaccine is more than 90% effective, and could begin to be rolled out by the end of the year.
However, Lancet medical journal editor Professor Richard Horton this week said “there are question marks surrounding the vaccine.”
Pfizer enrolled 43,538 people in its study, in the so-called Phase 3 stage of its trials. Each volunteer was given either two doses of the vaccine or two salt-water placebo injections. 94 people reportedly contracted COVID-19 during the trial. Based on the data – which was not released along with the announcement – Pfizer declared that the vaccine had been shown to be 90% effective. However, the trial only considered people to have “contracted coronavirus” if they showed symptoms and also tested positive.
The Health Ministry’s epidemic task force previously expressed concern about educated refusal to submit to a vaccine.
The task force proposed intensifying Health Ministry hasbara about the outbreak.
Ynet quoted Tel Aviv University health policy and medical law expert Dr. Adi Niv-Yagoda, who says the proposal may face legal opposition.
"In principle, the State of Israel has to this day refrained from legally requiring any vaccinations. Even today, the State allows a citizen to maintain autonomy and not be vaccinated with the routine vaccines recommended by the Health Ministry.”
Niv-Yagoda said that despite the outbreak, a law forcing citizens to immunize themselves “constitutes a fatal violation of basic rights and freedoms of the individual. The way to achieve high immunization coverage is through advocacy and the establishment of trust between the government and the public.”