The Israeli parliament enacted a law that allows the government to share the identities of people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 with other authorities, on Wednesday, February 24. The move drew criticism because of concerns that it would violate the privacy of those who opted against receiving the jab.
The Director-General of the education ministry, as well as the individuals in the welfare ministry, are some of the authorities who now have the right to access the addresses and phone numbers of unvaccinated citizens. The move was passed with 30 votes for and 13 against, according to AFP via EWN.
The government claims the move is meant to “enable these bodies to encourage people to vaccinate by personally addressing them,” according to a statement. The measure will remain in place for three months or until the COVID-19 pandemic is deemed to be over.
Nearly a third of Israel’s population of nine million people have been administered two jabs of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The country is allowing those who have been vaccinated to enjoy certain services as it emerges from lockdown – such as the use of gyms and indoor dining – but those who have not been inoculated cannot partake in the same activities, which raised more concerns in the country about unequal access for citizens that exercise their right not to be vaccinated.
In the parliamentary debate, Labour Party leader Merav Michaeli said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was depriving citizens of their right to the privacy of their medical information. A statement issued by parliament made it clear that the information cannot be used for any reason other than encouraging people to get vaccinated.
Israel intends to fully inoculate 6.2-million people before April 2021.