With more than a quarter of its citizens fully vaccinated, and nearly half of the country having received their first vaccination, Israel is currently leading the world in the race to vaccinate its entire population.
United Hatzalah volunteers, from all segments of Israeli society, have been taking part in this national effort and more than 550 volunteers have been volunteering at vaccination centers all over the country. From Holocaust survivors to leading Rabbis and Members of Knesset (MKs), United Hatzalah volunteers have vaccinated over tens of thousands of people.
Recognizing a need to assist elderly, disabled, and homebound people, reach their local and regional vaccination centers, United Hatzalah, initiated a new operation to transport them to and from the vaccination centers in ambulance free of charge, thus enabling them to receive the vaccine that they have waited for nearly a year to receive.
The project began at the end of January, in Yokne’am and Mevaseret, is now being run in partnership with more than 40 municipalities, and involves trained EMTs and paramedics from the organization to watch over the patients during transport. The volunteers are giving up their own time in order to make sure that no one gets left behind in this national operation to vaccinate the populace.
Recently, a 110-year-old woman from Rehovot with the help of the local United Hatzalah ambulance was transported to receive her second dose of the vaccine. Yoni Rothenberg, head of the Rehovot chapter commented: “It’s an honor to be a part of such a project, and we consider it to be of utmost priority. Only together will we be able to defeat this virus, and no one gets left behind.”
In the northern coastal city of Nahariya, one ambulance team transported a 94-year-old woman to get vaccinated. On the way back home, the woman told the volunteers that she hasn’t left her house in more than a year and hasn’t seen the sea in all that time. She asked if they could stop at the beach. The ambulance team emphatically agreed and switched its route to bring the woman to the beach.
Menachem Goldberg, head of the Nahariya chapter added: “This is by far one of the most important projects United Hatzalah has ever done. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the elderly patients helps us recognize just how important and special this is for them. Due to the virus, many of these people have not been able to see their family and loved ones since last March. Now, they will be able to do so once more. It is so special that the volunteers in my chapter keep asking when the next transport will be, they can hardly wait for it. It has become the favorite part of their day.”
Across the country, these transports are taking place on a daily basis. Hundreds of people have already been brought to receive their vaccines by volunteers from their own communities. Each day as more municipalities join the partnership, more and more elderly, disabled, and homebound people are able to get their vaccines and reunite with their loved ones, because thanks to these volunteers, and the partnership with these municipalities, no one is getting left behind.
To support United Hatzalah’s vaccine transport project please click here: