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COVID-19: The lives of Brazilian students vaccinated in Israel

Vaccinated against the coronavirus in Israel, two Brazilian students from the University of Tel Aviv (TAU) tell about the experience and also talk about the student's daily life in the country with the highest vaccination rate against Covid-19 in the world . 

In addition to implementing tough measures in the pandemic, such as lockdowns , Israel started its vaccination program - which stands out as the most successful in the world - in December 2020. Currently, more than 60% of the population has already received at least one dose of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine , and more than half have already been immunized with the 2nd dose. 

In conversation with Estudar Fora , students Luana Varaschim Perin and Felipe Minhoni Della Posta , who are part of the TAU master's program and have lived for approximately eight months in Israel, tell us about the experience of studying in the country during the pandemic and report what it was like to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. 

University adapted to the reality of the pandemic

In addition to restricting agglomerations since the beginning of the pandemic, the University of Tel Aviv has quickly adapted to safety and social distance rules to preserve the entire school community. During the lockdown months , all classes started to be taught online. 

With the advancement of vaccination in the country, part of the classes returned to face-to-face in March this year. In addition to making the use of protective masks on campus mandatory and providing gel alcohol in classes, the institution adopted a hybrid system, with the rotating presence of only 10 students per class and synchronous classes online, via Zoom.

“The University of Tel Aviv has an incredible support and logistics structure, so even in the face of the pandemic, I had the opportunity to take face-to-face classes - with great care and respecting the rules of social distance - and to meet my colleagues, who come from the most various parts of the world " , reports the master's degree in Law & Technology , Luana.

Although the process of entering students in Israel during the pandemic was difficult, according to Felipe, who holds a master's degree in International Security and Diplomacy , “the university worked with the Ministry of the Interior to obtain travel permits for students who were abroad during the beginning of the semester ” . 

Vaccination in Israel

Studying LL.M at TAU, the Brazilian Luana points out that “the vaccination process was fantastic fluidity” , and that she was proud to have chosen Israel for her study journey. In addition to monitoring the age groups prioritized at each stage of vaccination through the Israeli press, the master's student highlights that the university was very agile and transparent in passing on all the information to students. 

Still a day in advance, the student received an email from the university with information about the vaccine release for young people her age and instructions for making the appointment - which can be done either by the application or by phone. “The next morning, February 4, with a call, I scheduled the first dose of the vaccine at 2:00 pm on the same day. And, automatically, the 2nd dose was scheduled for 21 days later ” , remembers Luana, who has already been immunized with two doses.

In addition to the university, Felipe, who participates in the master's program in International Security and Diplomacy , says that the students themselves help spread the information on campus. “Through other colleagues, I learned that vaccination was already available for the age group above 20 years. I was vaccinated in February, at an exhibition center located just 15 minutes from the university, without long lines ” . 

“The first thing I did was call my family after I had the vaccine,” says a Brazilian student vaccinated in Israel.

From the speed of scheduling to the application of the vaccine, Luana reveals that she was surprised by the vaccination process in Israel. “The organization, agility and intelligent use of technology surprised me positively. With both doses, I arrived in advance at the vaccination site and left even before my scheduled time. ” 

Regarding the possible side effects of the vaccine against the coronavirus, Brazilians report only headache and muscle discomfort, in the arm in which the doses were applied. Physical sensations similar to those observed after the application of other vaccines.

The young people also talked about the feeling of relief and the emotion they felt when telling their parents and family that they were vaccinated. “The first thing I did was call my family after I got the vaccine,” says Luana. “Everyone was happy to know that the vaccine was made available with such speed to the population”, reinforces Felipe.

Pandemic situation in Brazil worries students

However, the joy of Brazilian students vaccinated in Israel contrasts with the apprehension due to the worsening of the pandemic in Brazil, where their friends and family remain. Luana also reflects on the fact that she was vaccinated even before her parents: “I understand that they should have had this vaccine before me” , and Felipe ponders, “my friends the same age as me, will probably only be vaccinated in the second half of this year, which exposes them to unnecessary risks. ”

Amid so many uncertainties, young Brazilians believe that the efficiency of Israel's vaccination program can generate important lessons. "I hope that Israel's stance in relation to the pandemic can serve as an example for Brazil, so that soon we can turn this page too," says Luana.

A positive outlook on the future

The vaccine alone is not able to bring the world back as we knew it before the Covid-19 pandemic. With the impossibility of vaccinating children and the risk of new variants, the Israeli government maintains its orientation on the use of masks and travel restrictions. 

But by observing the performance of the country, where people are beginning to breathe an air of normality again - still, with full attention to the pandemic -, it is possible to take an optimistic look at the future. “Today, with a large part of the vaccinated population, life is increasingly normalized and, finally, my colleagues and I are being able to experience Tel Aviv in its true spirit”, concludes Luana.

How to apply to study at Tel Aviv University?

André Chusyd is representative of the programs of the University of Tel Aviv in Brazil, and can assist students interested in having a study experience at the institution. It is even possible to win one of the scholarships offered by the institution.

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