Israel begins vaccinating kids aged 5 to 11

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Israel on Tuesday started vaccinating children ages 5-11 after the relevant health agencies approved the move earlier this month.

Officials are looking at the rollout of Pfizer-BioNTech shots for young children as a way to decrease the number of cases in the country and prevent another wave of infection from developing, according to The Associated Press.

Almost half of the active COVID-19 cases in Israel can be traced back to children ages 5 to 11, according to Health Ministry statistics cited by the AP. 

Demand for the vaccine among the young age group was low on the first day it was available, the AP reported, citing Israeli media.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett revealed on Twitter that he took his 9-year-old son David to get inoculated.

“Today we are starting the nationwide campaign to vaccinate children, first of all to safeguard our children. David was just vaccinated. This safeguards both children and parents, and the entire State of Israel,” the prime minister wrote on Twitter, according to The Times of Israel.

“It works, it’s safe and I call on all Israeli parents to come and have their children vaccinated,” he added.

Israel’s Ministry of Health announced in a statement Monday that appointments were available to get children inoculated against the virus. 

The Israeli Pediatric Association recommended the shot after it received approval from the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Israel Ministry of Health. The vaccine showed 91 percent efficacy in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 illness in children and was shown to be safe in clinical trials.

The ministry said it encourages young children to get the jab, pertaining to increased infection rates among the age group.

“More than 3 million children have already been vaccinated in the United States, and now also in Israel we can protect them and spare them infection with coronavirus, a potentially serious disease for children as well,” the ministry wrote in a statement.

“In light of increased infection rates among the younger age groups, the Ministry of Health encourages people to consult their pediatricians, to make decisions based on facts and data, to schedule an appointment in their HMOs, to vaccinate and protect their children and to prevent the next infection wave,” the ministry added.

The U.S. started vaccinating children ages 5 to 11 earlier this month, after CDC Director Rochelle Walensky signed off on the Pfizer-BioNTech shot for the age group.

The White House said that about 10 percent of children ages 5 to 11 in the U.S. will be at least partially vaccinated within two weeks of the jab becoming available for the age group.

Tags Israel Rochelle Walensky vaccinations Vaccine

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