A call to Israel's Haredim to get vaccinated

A call to Jerusalem's Ultra-Orthodox community to get vaccinated.

Outside the synagogue in the neighbourhood of Har Nof a poster bears the name of a young mother and her unborn child, with the stark warning: “For the ascension of her soul, get vaccinated.”

Both are part of an Israeli health ministry campaign aimed at Israel's Haredim community that's been hardest hit by the coronavirus.

The campaign appears to be paying off as the rate of infections among the Haredim has dropped sharply, as members of the community like Avraham Ellis take the shot.

''At first, people were hesitant but now more and more people like myself - I was vaccinated today actually - are coming to be vaccinated. We understand the seriousness of the situation."

Out of all Haredim eligible for vaccinations, 72% have received at least one shot, a relatively high rate globally but still below the national rate of 86% in Israel.

Ran Balicer of Clalit, Israel's biggest healthcare provider, says working closely with community leaders has been one of the key factors in their success.

"I personally went to rabbinical classes and sat with the rabbis and with the public, we have had an open discussion about vaccine safety and effectiveness and the bottom line was that the rabbis have declared, the rabbinical verdict that the vaccine is safe and effective and should be taken and this is why we see now a very good uptake of the vaccines in this ultra orthodox community."

The Haredim, who make up about 12% of Israel's 9.3 million population, comprise over a quarter of the country's total recorded 800,000 coronavirus cases, according to Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science.