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Israel to share names of people not vaccinated against COVID-19

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Israel’s parliament has passed a law allowing the government to share with other authorities the names, addresses and phone numbers of people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The measure permits the director general of the Education Ministry and some officials in the Welfare Ministry the right to receive the information about unvaccinated citizens, according to Agence France-Presse.

The law, which is valid for three months or until the pandemic is declared over, is meant “to enable these bodies to encourage people to vaccinate by personally addressing them,” the parliament, or Knesset, said in a statement.

The Jewish state has administered the Pfizer/BioNTech jab to about a third of its 9 million people.

As it emerges from its latest lockdown, Israel is restricting certain services, including access to gyms and indoor dining, to only the vaccinated by giving a so-called green pass to those who have received both doses.

That has raised concerns about unequal access for those exercising their right to not be inoculated.

Labor party leader Merav Michaeli accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “denying citizens their right to the privacy of their medical information,” according to AFP.

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The Knesset said the personal information can only be used to encourage people to be vaccinated.

“The information will be deleted after its use within 60 days,” according to the law, and “a person who was contacted can demand that his details be deleted and that they not be contacted again.”

Foreign residents wait in a line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in a new vaccination center for foreign nationals in Tel Aviv
Foreign residents wait in a line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in a new vaccination center for foreign nationals in Tel Aviv
EPA

Haim Katz of Netanyahu’s Likud party defended the law.

“I’ve been asked what about people’s privacy: Is privacy more important than life itself?” Katz said in parliament.

Netanyahu later called on citizens to be vaccinated in order to “return to normal life,” adding that 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.”

A woman is vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a temporary vaccination centre at a sports court in Tel Aviv.
Israel has administered the Pfizer/BioNTech jab to about a third of its 9 million people.
REUTERS/Corinna Kern

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