Israel’s mass vaccination campaign has hit a snag after local officials were forced to toss unused Covid-19 jabs, blaming red tape for the wasted doses. The country’s health ministry sees things differently.
In three southern cities, a total of 467 Pfizer jabs have been disposed of without being administered, Israeli media reported. In Dimona, Mayor Benny Biton said that out of this number, 212 shots were thrown away because the health ministry was too slow to respond to a request asking if people under the age of 60 could receive the unused jabs. It came after a medical facility in the municipality refused to inoculate individuals that weren’t prioritized to receive the drug.
At the moment, the nationwide vaccination drive is focusing on the elderly, healthcare workers, and people deemed high-risk.
It’s a scandal. I’m in favor of vaccinating people aged 65 [sic] and over first, but if they do not come, is it not a pity to throw away all vaccines?” the mayor told Israel’s Channel 13 News.
Israel’s health ministry placed the blame on Biton, claiming that he failed to do enough to drum up interest in the vaccine.
“The mayor was expected to use all his abilities in the municipality to bring in 212 people out of the city of 40,000 inhabitants, just as was the case in other cities with similar cases,” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry also claimed that it granted the mayor’s request, arguing that he could have salvaged the surplus doses if he had been more cooperative.