Israel to mull scrapping age limit to receive virus vaccine

As Clalit and Meuhedet HMOs expand vaccination campaign to over 35s, senior Health Ministry officials say they are set to debate on Wednesday evening whether to allow all Israelis over the age of 16 to get inoculated
Adir Yanko|
Israel is set to scrap the age limit for vaccinations against coronavirus with a meeting on the issue scheduled for later in the day, a senior Health Ministry official said Wednesday.
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  • The Health Ministry's vaccination priority committee is reportedly set to meet in the evening to mull whether to scrap the age limit completely or expand it to include teens aged 16-18 in order to allow them to take their matriculation exams in schools.
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    חיסון בגני התערוכה
    חיסון בגני התערוכה
    A man vaccinated for coronavirus at a medical center in northern Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    The announcement came shortly after two of Israel's HMOs, Clalit and Meuhedet, said they will be expanding their coronavirus vaccination campaign to allow people over the age of 35 to get inoculated.
    The health funds said the decision was made in order "not to waste the ability to inoculate over 100,000 people a day."
    The Maccabi and Leumit health funds have yet to announce the lowering of the age limit.
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    המרכז בראשון לציון
    המרכז בראשון לציון
    Clalit vaccination center in Rishon LeTsiyon
    (Photo: Ido Erez)
    In light of the HMOs announcement, the Health Ministry said the changes to vaccine the public below the age of 40 must be made in coordination between the health funds and the ministry's officials.
    "All decisions are made in accordance with the situation in the field and the amount of available supply," the ministry said.
    Earlier Wednesday, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said that over 200,000 Israelis have been vaccinated against coronavirus on Tuesday. According to Edelstein, 2,272,000 Israelis have already received their first dose of the vaccine and 550,000 both shots.
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    יולי אדלשטיין בנימין נתניהו
    יולי אדלשטיין בנימין נתניהו
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein during a visit to a vaccination center in Beit Shemesh
    (Photo: Moshe Mizarhi)
    Edelstein on Tuesday ordered Health Ministry DG Prof. Hezi Levy, who oversees the vaccination campaign, to raise daily inoculations to 250,000.
    According to estimates by the Health Ministry, 77% of Israelis over 60 have been vaccinated. Among people aged 30-39 16% have been inoculated, 30% among ages 40-49 and 51% among ages 50-59.
    Clalit HMO, Israel's biggest health fund, reported that it has given the second vaccine dose to 232,000 people; Maccabi HMO reported 127,000 people; Meuhedet 38,000 and Leumit 34,000.
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