Health Ministry experts vote to vaccinate under-12s in exceptional cases

Decision coincides with Pfizer clinical trials on safety and efficacy of vaccine among children aged six months to 12 years, will be administered to those considered high risk; team for handling epidemics also okays third shot for residents of nursing homes as national infection rate hits 0.9%

The Heath Ministry's team of experts on handling epidemics voted Sunday in favor of giving the COVID vaccine to children under the age of 12 in exceptional cases such as serious underlying health issues and for giving a third booster shot to seniors living in nursing homes.
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  • The decision was made in light of Israel’s recent surge in COVID cases, believed to have been caused by a breach at Ben-Gurion Airport that saw thousands of Israelis return from abroad without undergoing any testing, and the consequent spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.
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    An Israeli teen receiving the COVID vaccine
    (Photo: Ido Erez)
    The decision also coincides with Pfizer's clinical trials on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine among children aged six months to 12 years. According to the pharmaceutical giant, it expects its coronavirus vaccine to be approved for children under 12 by early 2022.
    Israel led out a massive inoculation campaign that has seen over 5.7 million Israelis receive the first jab, and over 5.1 million receive also the second shot. The campaign was extended to include children aged 12-15 last month, after the FDA approved the vaccines for this use.
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    מתחמי חיסון הפופ-אפ
    מתחמי חיסון הפופ-אפ
    Teens waiting to receive the COVID vaccine in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Orel Cohen)
    On Sunday, the Health Ministry reported that 248 Israelis have tested positive for coronavirus. With some 28,500 tests conducted since midnight, the country's contagion rate has reached 0.9%. A marked increase from Friday, when the country’s national infection rate stood at 0.7%.
    The ministry added that there are currently 47 coronavirus patients hospitalized in serious condition, 12 of them connected to ventilators.
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    מחלקת הקורונה "כתר" בבית החולים רמב"ם
    מחלקת הקורונה "כתר" בבית החולים רמב"ם
    The coronavirus ward at Rambam Healthcare Campus in Haifa
    (Photo: Shamir Elbaz)
    This recent spike in COVID cases and the consequent fear of an influx of patients in the hospitals has led the ministry to order medical centers around the country to reopen their dedicated COVID wards.
    Since the beginning of the pandemic, 6,438 Israelis have succumbed to coronavirus-related complications. Since the beginning of July, six COVID patients died in Israel, compared to nine COVID patients in June.
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