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Tel Aviv offers free snacks with COVID-19 vaccine shots

Tel Aviv offers free snacks with COVID-19 vaccine shots

TEL AVIV — Pizza, hummus, pastry and a cup of coffee were on the menu on Tuesday to entice Israelis to get their COVID-19 vaccinations.

In cooperation with local restaurants, Tel Aviv offered the food at two pop-up vaccination centers, hoping to persuade inoculation holdouts to take a shot.

Although Israel is leading the world in the speed of its vaccination drive, authorities are still concerned that younger people less prone to dangerous coronavirus complications and others jittery about inoculation will not get their jabs.

So it was free pizza, hummus and knafeh, a sweet Middle Eastern dessert made with filo pastry, for all. And dozens of people showed up.

Business restrictions

“We came to get vaccinated. Until now, we were worried but because of the upcoming restrictions (against people who don’t vaccinate), there was not much choice, and it’s also very nice to get a pizza and a coffee,” said Lizi Kritzer, a 32-year-old municipality worker.

Israel plans to ease more restrictions on businesses on Sunday and reopen hotels and gyms to those fully vaccinated or deemed immune after recovering from COVID-19.

With nearly 43 percent of citizens having received at least one shot of the Pfizer vaccine, Israel has moved ahead with a gradual relaxing of lockdown measures imposed on Dec. 27.

Its ambitious vaccination drive has made it the largest real-world study of the Pfizer vaccine. The country’s largest health-care provider has reported a 94 percent drop in symptomatic COVID-19 cases among 600,000 people who received both doses.

Family-like atmosphere

Eytan Schwartz, a spokesperson for the Tel Aviv municipality, said the city hoped the food and drink offered at the vaccination stations in two community centers would create a “family-like atmosphere” to attract the hesitant.

“I came today to get vaccinated and I tell everyone to come and get the shot so that we can keep our health better,” said Iman Dasui, a 60-year-old teacher. “There is also knafeh here … very tasty.”

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