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Israel passes law to name and shame people who haven’t had Covid jab

The decision has raised privacy concerns Israel has passed a law allowing the identities of people who have not been vaccinated to be shared with other authorities. The decision on Wednesday raises concerns over privacy for those who may opt against getting the jab. It passed by 30 votes to 13 and gives local governments, the director general of the education ministry and some in the welfare ministry the right to receive the names, addresses and phone numbers of everyone who has not had the vaccine.

The objective of the measure – which remains valid for three months or until the Covid-19 pandemic is declared over – is ‘to enable these bodies to encourage people to vaccinate by personally addressing them’, according to a statement issued by parliament. Israel has so far administered both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to roughly a third of its nine million population. As the country emerges from lockdown, access to certain services such as gyms and indoor dining has been restricted to vaccinated people only, with so-called green passes handed out to the fully inoculated. That too has raised concerns about unequal access for those exercising their right not to take up the vaccine.

During debate on the measure, Labour party leader Merav Michaeli accused right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of ‘denying citizens their right to the privacy of their medical information’. A health worker administers the Covid-19 vaccine to an Israeli at a bar in Tel Aviv (Picture: AFP via Getty) The statement from the parliament, or Knesset, said the personal information cannot be used for any purpose other than encouraging people to be vaccinated. According to the legislation, ‘the information will be deleted after its use within 60 days’ and ‘a person who was contacted can demand that his details be deleted and that they not be contacted again’.

Haim Katz, of Netanyahu’s Likud party, defended the law as a means to promote vaccination, saying: ‘I’ve been asked what about people’s privacy: Is privacy more important than life itself?’ He went on to insist that the information would include nothing beyond the question of whether or not the person was vaccinated. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pictured during his visit to the Khan Theatre in Jerusalem (Picture: Reuters) This table shows how Israel leads the way in terms of doses administered per 100 people At a news conference, Netanyahu later called on Israeli citizens to be vaccinated in order to ‘return to normal life’.

The prime minister deplored misleading news about the vaccine, and said Israel aimed to fully inoculate 6.2 million people before the beginning of April. ‘More than a million adults are not yet vaccinated,’ he said, adding that ‘in the world, people are waiting for vaccines, (but) here vaccines are waiting for people’. Israel has officially recorded more than 760,000 coronavirus cases and over 5,600 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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