The country’s vaccination program has been widely lauded for its success and while it has not completely halted fatalities, statistics suggest that only one in 1,500 fully vaccinated Israelis has tested positive for Covid-19.

“We are extremely proud that our international students have full access to the vaccine”

Chair, Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education, Yaffa Zilbershats said by including international students and researchers in the vaccine roll out, the country is “committed to enriching our higher education system through internationalisation and the integration of international students and researchers”.

“Throughout the pandemic, our academic institutions have ensured that courses continue at the same high quality through digital learning methods and that cutting-edge research carries on,” Zilbershats said.

“Their highly professional staff have been a major support to international students in dealing with the challenges of the pandemic. Now that Israel is running a successful vaccination drive, we are extremely proud that our international students have full access to the vaccine.”

The majority international students have been inoculated through their health care provider, in the same manner as Israeli residents and citizens, the government indicated.

Hebrew University in Jerusalem has cooperated with the country’s paramedic and Red Cross service Magen David Adom to set up a clinic in February to vaccinate at least 500 international students and researchers. The group of 10 medical professionals will return in March to give the second dose.

Institutions such as Bar Ilan University, the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, and Tel Aviv University are also arranging clinics to operate on their campuses.

Other countries such as the UK and Australia have said that their vaccination programs will be open for international students, but Israel is the first country to extensively begin vaccinating its international students and researchers.

The government added that the Council for Higher Education of Israel has placed internationalisation as a central element of its national higher education strategy.

Reddy Prasanna Duggireddy, an Indian student pursuing a master’s degree at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, said he was “pleasantly surprised” that the vaccine included the country’s international student population.

“The Covid-19 vaccine is easily accessible to all the international students on the campus and the health insurance covers all the costs involved,” he said.

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