The deputy head of one of Jerusalem’s major hospitals made waves on Sunday when he announced he would refuse a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, at least for the time being.
Professor Dan Turner is the deputy director of Shaare Zedek Medical Center, and with the government’s decision last week to begin offering coronavirus booster shots to citizens over the age of 50, he is now eligible.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is adamant that fully vaccinating all Israelis citizens and giving booster shots to everyone possible is the key to preventing another lockdown and beating the Delta variant.
Israel was the first country to approve and begin administering a COVID-19 booster shot, and already nearly one million citizens have received the third dose.
But Prof. Turner won’t be among them.
“I’ve given a lot of thought to this very complex matter,” he told Channel 12 News “It’s a clash between scientific, ethical, and humanitarian considerations – and the result was that I have decided not to accept a third dose at this point in time.”
More than that, Turner doesn’t believe anyone should be getting a booster shot right now. “Israel’s decision to offer a third dose is very unsettling, when there are other countries that have yet to commence a vaccination program,” he continued.
The professor explained that as physicians, he and his colleagues should be focused on healing all who are ill. And that applies on a global scale. Israel and other wealthy nations should not be giving national priority to their own citizens, he insisted.
“The words of the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) cry out a protest to the heavens: There are countries where just one percent of the population are vaccinated. Israel is now giving out a third vaccine shot, and this is neither right nor moral,” concluded Turner.
Last week, top WHO officials indirectly called out Israel and a small handful of other countries for over-vaccinating their populations, even as much of the world was unable to obtain an adequate amount of vaccine doses. Furthermore, they noted that the science did not support assertions like those from Bennett that booster shot were necessary, or would even have any positive effect on infection rates.
Israel has turned a deaf ear to the WHO on this matter.
At an emergency meeting of the Corona Cabinet last week, Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin went so far as to suggest revoking the “Green Passport” (vaccination certification) of any Israeli who is eligible for the booster shot, but refuses to take it.