Israel, the COVID vaccine pioneer: an insider opinion

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Disclaimer: all opinions and insight in this post are my own. I make no claims of statistic or scientific accuracy.

Some time ago, I wrote about my personal choice to wait and watch for a while before getting the COVID vaccine. Since I work from home, am not in a risk group, and am a natural introvert, this choice is viable for me.

But it is different for many other people in Israel. Quite simply, many will soon have to take the vaccine – regardless of their personal preferences or concerns – to keep their livelihood and avoid restrictions.

Israel has started its vaccination campaign in full force and, so far, has vaccinated about 1/3 of the total population and most people in risk groups. Despite this, COVID continues to spread rapidly, in a large part because of new variants that now target younger people and children as well.

There’s a big – and, in my eyes, very scary – trend of shaming and pressuring the people who are reluctant to get the vaccine for any reason. They are labeled uneducated, scare-mongerers, selfish, unwilling to “do their part”. Allegedly, vaccine refusers are the reason why we won’t be climbing out of this pandemic anytime soon.

There has been talk of making vaccination mandatory but, since legislation for this would likely cause an uproar, there’s an insidious movement to make people get a vaccine by existing legal means.

It started with a “green passport” incentive that’s supposed to give vaccinated citizens access to shopping centers and recreational activities, and escalated to organizations saying their workers had better get the vaccine if they want to keep their jobs. Teachers who have concerns about the vaccine are told “it’s your fault we can’t open schools, kids are missing out on their education because of your silly irrational fears”. I’ve heard local authorities declare that unvaccinated individuals will get no services, no counseling, no assistance when needed. I’m pretty sure it’s illegal, but the statements can give you a hint of the overall attitude.

Any concerns about the vaccine are systematically swept under the rug and any reports of possible serious side effects are dismissed as a coincidence. This week I heard a recording of an epidemiologist who had given a radio interview and very carefully and rationally explained why the vaccine might not be 100% safe for everyone. The interviewer, seething with fury, terminated the report midway.

The worst part? Leading authorities are talking about taking the plunge and vaccinating children and pregnant women before any clinical trials have taken place for these groups, because without these populations, Israel will never reach herd immunity.

I am still pretty positive about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. I hope that, in the end, it will prove the solution we’ve all been hoping for. But here’s the thing:

It should be illegal to try and coerce, force, shame, or manipulate anyone into taking the vaccine. It should be illegal to offer external incentives for taking the vaccine.

Any discussion on possible negative side effects should be open and transparent. People shouldn’t be afraid or ashamed to ask questions, or labelled as senseless fear-mongerers when they do.

The demonization of people who are choosing not to take the vaccine yet has got to stop. It appears, so far, that being vaccinated doesn’t prevent someone from spreading the virus to others. Therefore, it has minimal impact on my neighbors and friends whether I’m vaccinated or not. We are not the problem. We were not the ones who caused uncontrolled spread through massive crowded events, parties, demonstrations and (ironically) funerals.

I never thought I would say this, but living in Israel has become scary lately. I have never felt such instability. Not during wars, not during terror campaigns.

I pray that we somehow make our way out of this without forgetting about democratic values like bodily autonomy, critical thinking, and freedom of speech. Because so far, things aren’t looking very hopeful on that score.

Author: Anna

An Orthodox Jewish wife and mother enjoying a simple life with her family and chickens, somewhere in the hills, in Israel.

15 thoughts on “Israel, the COVID vaccine pioneer: an insider opinion”

  1. Anna! You echo my sentiments so accurately it’s scary. The same thing is occurring here in the states. Healthy skepticism and waiting for good data seems to be a lost concept. It definitely is scary, and has lost me friends this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve seen absolute hate speech on social media against individuals who are choosing to wait and watch with the new vaccine. Statements like “let them all rot in their homes”, etc.

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    2. What part of the US are you in? I’m in PA, and it’s not that bad here-yet. Thankfully, though the governor and executive branch of the state gov’t is Democrat, both houses of the state legislature are GOP controlled; that’s kept Gov. Wolf in check somewhat. We’re a lot better off than NJ and NY.

      But yeah, I’m concerned too. What’s a dangerous about the vax is that it alters the genetic code! Unlike every other vaccine, this has mRNA, or messenger RNA; it doesn’t have a weak or dead version of the bug. Oh, and don’t take my words for what this is; look at what Moderna has to say here: https://www.modernatx.com/mrna-technology/mrna-platform-enabling-drug-discovery-development

      What’s a real travesty is that this is an EXPERIMENTAL medicine being forced on people! This violates the Nuremberg Code. Moreover, this is being done in Israel of all places! That’s right; the nation founded in the wake of The Holocaust is violating the Nuremberg Code against its own people. What’s even more shameful is that PM Netanyahu SOLD OUT his people! In order to get to the front of the line to get the vax, Bibi made a deal with Pfizer to maintain records on the Israeli people; IOW, he volunteered them as Pfizer’s guinea pigs! Nice, huh?

      One doesn’t have to be a doctor or even an expert to question the vax, either. One, this gene modifying injected product was rushed. Two, it’s a totally new technology that’s never been used in humans before. Three, why the pressure to take this medicine, when the recovery rate from COVID is 99.7% or so? Four, why is there a rush when there are treatments already available for COVID? I could go on, but you get my point.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I live in Israel. The vaccine saga here has turned into a complete irrational hysteria, with pro-vaxxers calling to shun, shame, and legally restrict people who haven’t taken the vaccine yet. It’s so grotesque I can hardly believe this is happening to us.

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      2. Anna,

        If the hysteria with masks is anything to go by, I can see the same thing happening in the US as the vaccine is rolled out.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. They make us wear masks outside even if you’re the only person on the street. I put on a mask to throw out the garbage. It’s utterly ridiculous.

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  2. I also agree with you, Anna. Check out my latest two posts, about the Zelenko Protocol and other things to do with alternatives to the vaxx. I’m getting the idea that even medical people forgot what they were taught in school because they’re told rules for the “novel” coronavirus require a whole different approach. As if.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anna,

    I’m SO SORRY for what’s happening in Israel! Given your country’s history (i.e. why Israel was established in the first place), it’s ironic. What do I mean? They’re violating the Nuremberg Code, among other things.

    I’m concerned about the push for the vaccine too. What’s a dangerous about the vax is that it alters the genetic code! Unlike every other vaccine, this has mRNA, or messenger RNA; it doesn’t have a weak or dead version of the bug. Oh, and don’t take my words for what this is; look at what Moderna has to say here: https://www.modernatx.com/mrna-technology/mrna-platform-enabling-drug-discovery-development

    Note that Moderna calls their vaccine “the software of life”; they call it an “operating system”. That seems to strongly hint at gene modification to me. Oh, and that’s THEIR words, not mine! Scroll down the page, and you’ll see what Moderna says about the mRNA vaccine. This applies to the Pfizer vaccine you all got over there, since it too is mRNA.

    What’s a real travesty is that this is an EXPERIMENTAL medicine being forced on people! This violates the Nuremberg Code. Moreover, this is being done in Israel of all places! That’s right; the nation founded in the wake of The Holocaust is violating the Nuremberg Code against its own people. What’s even more shameful is that PM Netanyahu SOLD OUT his people! In order to get to the front of the line to get the vax, Bibi made a deal with Pfizer to maintain records on the Israeli people; IOW, he volunteered them as Pfizer’s guinea pigs! Nice, huh?

    One doesn’t have to be a doctor or even an expert to question the vax, either. One, this gene modifying injected product was rushed. Two, it’s a totally new technology that’s never been used in humans before. Three, why the pressure to take this medicine, when the recovery rate from COVID is 99.7% or so? Four, why is there a rush when there are treatments already available for COVID? I could go on, but you get my point.

    Oh, and before I forget, there’s a NYC based Rabbi fighting the vaccine here. His name is Yitzchok Dovid Smith. His website is http://www.saveourfreedoms.org. Perhaps he can help you and the other good people in Israel? I hope this helps. Again, I feel for you, and I feel your concern; this is happening in the US too. It’s worldwide, actually. God be with you and your family, Anna.

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    1. From what I know, the mRNA can’t actually alter the genetic code (the data flows from DNA to RNA, not in reverse), but it can affect proteins in the cell in different ways which simply haven’t been studied enough yet to deem this technology absolutely 100% safe for all people, and pretending otherwise is dishonest.
      Most rabbis call for vaccination, but that’s hardly the point – I’m neither pro nor anti the vaccine at this point. I am, however, firmly against coercion, manipulation, misinformation, and the mass hysteria propagated by the media here.
      Today I’ve realized what is deeply bothering me about this whole saga. There’s a popular saying that states “two Jews, three opinions” – we usually love to discuss and go back and forth on every single thing. But with the covid vaccine policy, there’s a pretty much uniform line. Not one dissenting voice. People are afraid. Doctors are terrified of losing their licenses. It feels like democracy is slipping away from us like water through the fingers.

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      1. As a US Navy veteran, I took my share of vaccines. We spent a whole week or so getting all that we needed, since the US Navy operates worldwide. It was an assembly line operation; you’d go to one station, get a shot, go to another, and so on. I was 18 at the time; I was young and in the best shape ever. Even so, I felt a bit OFF after getting them! Overall, I’ve had no bad experiences with any vaccines.

        I’m not at all anti-vax, either. The theory behind vaccines is sound. You take a weak or dead version of the bug; inject it in to the body; the body gets familiar with the bug, and it learns how to fight it off. That’s how it’s been done ever since the small pox vaccine was invented centuries ago. That is to say that classic vaccines are a tried and true technology; they’re well understood.

        mRNA is a totally new animal; it’s never been done before. What you say about the mRNA not modifying your cells’ DNA is correct, but the mRNA gives instructions to something that, in turn, modifies the cell’s DNA. Even if you’re right (and you may very well be, as I’m not a doctor), mRNA is still new and has never been used on humans before. Therefore, it should be right before released for public use.

        It’s been my experience that, when something is rushed, mistakes will be made; something will be overlooked. That’s just the way it is. If you rush cleaning the house or preparing a meal, it won’t come out as well. When I’ve rushed projects in school or on the job, they didn’t come out as well. Also, US history shows us that rushing a vaccine doesn’t come out well. In 1976, we had a swine flu outbreak. The gov’t rushed a vaccine, and many Americans were hurt. I’m concerned that we’re repeating history here. Here’s an expose on the swine flu rushed swine flu vaccine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIFnmuiW7I8

        Oh, and I hope you can connect with Rabbi Smith. You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers, Anna.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you, Mark. It’s good of you to pop in; I’ve wondered how you were doing.
        My concerns over the rushed process of these vaccines are the same. I’m not sure WHAT problems might come to light over time, but it’s not impossible. Biochemistry and molecular biology can be unpredictable. It’s completely reasonable to be concerned. What people are getting now is the pilot version – and I don’t really fancy that for me and my kids.
        I don’t really want to catch covid either, but here I have some control. I can avoid crowded places. I can wash my hands. With the vaccine, once I get the jab, I have zero control over side effects.

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