The vaccination campaign for Rambam Health Care Campus employees started yesterday, with senior administration the first to be vaccinated. Approximately 800 employees received the vaccination yesterday, and they will be followed by thousands more over the next few weeks.
Photography: Rambam HCC.
Nine months after Rambam Health Care Campus received its first COVID-19 patient, the largest medical center in Northern Israel has launched a campaign to vaccinate its employees. Hours after the initial batch of approximately 1,000 vaccine doses were delivered to the hospital in the presence of members of the administration and various department heads, Director General Dr. Michael Halberthal became the first Rambam employee to receive the vaccine, followed in quick succession by Deputy Director Dr. Avi Weisman. Approximately 800 employees were vaccinated on the first day.
Among those who received vaccines at Rambam yesterday were the 2004 Nobel Prize winners in Chemistry, Professor Avraham Hershko and Professor Aharon Ciechanover; Professor Rafi Beyar, former Rambam Director General and current President of Rambam's International Friends Associations; Professor Uri Sivan, President of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology; former Deputy Directors of Rambam, Professor Amos Etzioni and Dr. Zvi Ben Yishai; Professor Haim Hammerman, former Director of the Department of Cardiology; Professor Yoram Palti, Faculty of Biomedical Engineering at the Technion; Professor Boaz Golany, Executive Vice President and Director General of the Technion and a professor in its Faculty of Industrial Engineering; as well as other senior researchers and physicians.
In recent weeks, all Rambam employees were offered an opportunity to register for COVID-19 vaccinations. Every employee electing to do so will receive an invitation citing a specific date and time to receive the first of two vaccine injections in the coming days and weeks. In addition, employees are invited to undergo serology tests to assess whether or not they already have COVID-19 antibodies, indicating that they had already been sick with the virus. To date, more than 3,500 Rambam employees have registered to receive the vaccine.
“Today marks a milestone for the State of Israel and for Rambam Health Care Campus," Dr. Halberthal wrote in an email to hospital employees on Sunday morning. "Today we start vaccinating the staff, following a difficult period filled with medical, economic, and social challenges. I call on all of you to come and get vaccinated, to continue to work together towards the eradication of the coronavirus. The vaccinations are here, but we still can’t say that we’ve won, and until then, it is important to adhere to the guidelines regarding the wearing of masks, social distancing, and maintaining proper hygiene."
In response to a question asked by reporters who followed the event, Dr. Halberthal said he was especially excited about the possibility of returning to routine. "The vaccine is safe, and when one considers the alternative, there is no hesitation. I chose life. I look forward to returning to my usual routine. Most of all, I miss my grandchildren."
To watch Rambam Director General Dr. Michael Halberthal and Deputy Director Dr. Michal Mekel share their thoughts about yesterday’s historic day at Rambam after receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations.