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Israel to start vaccinating children against Coronavirus by March

Israel's coronavirus czar Prof. Nachman Ash visits at the Corona department at the Ziv hospital in Tzfat, Northern Israel. December 24, 2020. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90

Israel may include children over the age of 12 in groups receiving COVID-19 vaccines within the next two months if research shows that it is safe, a top health official said on Tuesday, 12 January.

Vaccinating at a world-record pace, Israel says it aims to have administered one or both shots to 5 million of its 9 million citizens and reopen the economy, by mid-March.

Elderly Israelis and adults with medical conditions or jobs in critical high-risk sectors have been given priority. But with Israeli officials anticipating more regular vaccine shipments, the eligibility categories have been expanded.

Nachman Ash, the national coordinator on the pandemic, predicted that pharmacological research would establish that the minimum age threshold for the vaccines could be safely lowered from 16 to 12, and FDA approval for such use secured by March.

While speaking on local radio 103 FM, he said that the fact that children under the age of 16 were not currently getting vaccinated is certainly troubling, in terms of the ability to achieve herd immunity.

“I reckon that, in another month or two, there will be another cohort, the aged 12 and higher than we can vaccinate, he said.

Around 7.75% of Israel’s population are between the ages of 12 and 16, according to the central bureau of statistics data.

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