COVID-19: Israel to begin vaccinating 1.2 million children aged 5 to 11 against coronavirus

·2-min read

Israel has announced that a campaign to vaccinate some 1.2 million children aged five to 11 will begin within days.

The decision to green light jabs for children in this age group was announced by the health ministry on Sunday, following an agreement by a panel of experts.

In a statement, the Israeli health ministry said a starting date for five to 11-year-olds to begin receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine would be set within days.

"The majority of experts on the committee were of the opinion that the benefit of vaccinating this age group outweighed any risk," the statement said.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already granted the emergency use of the Pfizer/ BioNTech vaccine for the age group at a 10-microgram dose - a fraction of what if given to adults.

The dosage given to those aged 12 and older is 30 micrograms.

The company said their vaccine showed a 90.7% efficacy against coronavirus in a clinical trial of children between five and 11.

Health officials in Israel have been doubtful the country could reach "herd immunity" unless the 1.2 million children in this age group are vaccinated.

An opinion poll in Israel last week showed that 27% of parents would allow their children under the age of 12 to receive the vaccine, with 33% opposed and 40% undecided.

Four million Israelis have taken booster shots since they were approved in August for anyone who had their second Pfizer jab at least five months earlier.

In the UK 12,613,256 booster jabs have been given to the over-50s and the clinically vulnerable who are eligible.

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The nation has adopted a "living with COVID strategy" to keep the economy and schools open during a fourth wave of infections.

Similar to the UK, officials are counting on booster shots and jabs for the young to help stop infections translating into hospital admissions.

Israel has also mandated mask wearing and operated a "green pass" system of digital vaccine certification.

In the UK - where vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds have been greenlighted since September - more than a million children have been jabbed, according to NHS figures released on Sunday.

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