Answering a need faced by many elderly or disabled persons who are without cars, and for whom the use of public transportation can be difficult, United Hatzalah has begun working with various cities and regional councils throughout Israel to transport those in need to local vaccination centers and back to their homes afterward. The program began earlier this week and will be continuing until there is no further need. The program is taking place in more than fifteen cities thus far including, Ramat Gan, Givatayim, Ashkelon, Petach Tikvah, Gan Yavneh, Herzliya, Be’er Sheva, Tevaria (Tiberias) Ma’aleh Adumim, and others, with more cities joining every day.
As part of the effort, volunteers and ambulance teams from United Hatzalah arrive at the homes of those who are in need of transport and have requested assistance from their city’s social service programs and take them to the vaccination centers. The ambulance team, which consists of a driver and an additional volunteer, both of whom are fully trained EMTs, pick up the patient at their home, assist the patient with going to the center, receiving the vaccination, and then return them back home afterward. The entire service is done free of charge.
Among the people who are eligible to receive this assistance are elderly or disabled people. Many of these people are also Holocaust survivors who have thus far been unable to get vaccinated as they are restricted to their homes due to their medical conditions or out of fear of contracting the virus.
“We are extremely proud of this program and our partnerships with the local and city councils in getting this project up and running,” said President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer. “This is a serious disease and these people need our help to combat it. Israel is in a state of crisis right now, and assisting people to get their vaccines, who otherwise would not be able to do so is incredibly important for us. It is important both on an organizational level and on a national level. We need to do everything we can to stop the spread of this terrible disease, and protecting the elderly and other at-risk populations is of the utmost importance. Many of these people have done so much for this country, it is only fitting that we do this small act of kindness for them.”
Director of United Hatzalah’s Operations Department Moshiko Moskowitz added: “From an operational standpoint this is sort of coming full circle. During the first lockdown, our volunteers were instrumental in bringing many of these people food and medications because they were stuck at home. A lot of them haven’t left their homes or seen their families in over 10 months. Now, we are assisting them once again in obtaining their vaccines, which will hopefully allow them to be able to once again see their families once again.”
United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Mordechai Ben Ami who was transporting people to get their vaccines in Ramat Gan this week said, “I can certainly relate to the difficulty of getting to the vaccination centers for a lot of people. My own father is confined to a bed due to a variety of illnesses and could not get the vaccine. Without the assistance, he still wouldn’t have it. I am very thankful for this program personally and I am happy to be involved in helping others get their vaccinations and protect themselves from this disease.”
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