Two Israeli ministers have been caught on a hot mic admitting that there are no health justifications for many areas where their vaccine passport scheme is being implemented.
Nitzan Horowitz, the Health Minister for Israel, was caught discussing the country’s vaccine passport scheme with his colleague, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked on Sunday before their weekly Cabinet meeting began. Both Horowitz and Shaked were unaware that their conversation was picked up by microphones from Israel’s Channel 12 News.
Israel was the first country in the world to issue a vaccine passport, which they call a Green Pass. While originally scrapped in June, following a further wave of coornavirus infections in the country, despite most of the population having received two jabs, the Green Pass was reintroduced, and from August 20th, has been required to enter restaurants, swimming pools, all indoor entertainment venues, and all public places, except from parks.
Children under 12 who are not vaccinated must take a coronavirus swab on a regular basis if they want to gain entry to these places.
During the discussion, Horowitz, who said at the end of last month that citizens in Israel who don’t get a third booster shot will eventually be denied their vaccine passport accreditation, agreed with Shaked that there was actually no epidemological justification for applying the pass to outdoor seating at restaurants, swimming pools, and other areas.
“The thing is, I’m telling you, our problem is people who don’t get vaccinated,” Horowitz argued. “We need [to influence] them a bit, otherwise we won’t get out of this,” he continued, admitting that the only reason many places in Israel required the vaccine passport was simply to coerce vaccine uptake across the country. Horowitz continued, claiming that any exceptions to the Green Pass, which has “a kind of universality” to it, would lead to people questioning the scientific validity of the passport to begin with.
Despite the Israeli ministers’s assertions that the vaccine passport would act as a stick to increase vaccination rates, a new study from Imperial College London confirmed that anyone who is reluctant to get vaccinated would feel less likely to do so under such a scheme. “If public health incentives like vaccine passports ‘frustrate’ psychological needs – for example by making people feel a lack of free will over their decisions – then they might paradoxically reduce people’s willingness to get vaccinated,” said Dr Taly Porat, the lead author of the study.