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COVID-19: Israeli bar offers free drink for jab to tempt more young people to get vaccinated

A bar in Tel Aviv has become an unusual vaccination point, offering COVID-19 jabs in exchange for a free drink.

In an attempt to encourage younger people to get vaccinated, Tel Aviv’s municipality is trialling an initiative in which a vaccination point has been set up outside the Jenia Bar in the city’s Dizengoff Square.

The vaccines are being offered to anyone, free of charge and without an appointment. Those people who take up the offer receive a voucher for a free soft drink at the bar.

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Israel has led the world on vaccinations, but its programme has slowed among the young. Pic: Tel Aviv Municipality/Kfir Sivan

Mixing bars and alcohol with vaccinations may not seem wholly sensible, but the drinks on offer were all non-alcoholic and those who were there told Sky News it didn’t detract from the enjoyment of returning to a bar for the first time in many months.

Sky News reported this week on the alarming drop-off in vaccinations as younger people become eligible for the jab.

Israel, which has run the world’s most successful vaccine programme, is now trying to find ways to encourage younger people to get the jab.

“The vaccination rate has gone considerably slower and that’s the concern here right now: how to convince young, healthy people to get vaccinated. The sooner the better,” said Dr Daniel Shepshelovich, the vaccination coordinator at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital.

Israeli health officials have warned that other countries are likely to see a reluctance among younger people to be vaccinated, either because they are concerned about the safety of the vaccine or because they don’t see COVID-19 as a serious risk to them.

Professor Eyal Leshem, an infectious diseases expert at Israel’s largest hospital, Sheba, has been briefing the Scottish government this week on Israel’s experiences.

Professor Eyal Leshem, an infectious disease expert and director of Sheba's Institute for Travel & Tropical Medicine told Sky News: "This is first real-world evidence of effectiveness that shows up after the first dose of the vaccine."
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Prof Leshem says social media and celebrities could be used to convince the young to get vaccinated

He told Sky News: “You really need to convince them. You need to prepare your communication, move to work in social media, move and work with community leaders, opinion leaders, even celebrities, just making sure that people understand it’s safe and it’s really important for everyone to get vaccinated so we can get back to normal life.”

Tel Aviv city officials say mobile vaccination units will be located in seven popular locations across the city this weekend – including the beachfront promenade.

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