Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday told parents there's no reason not to vaccinate their children after health officials okayed COVID vaccines for kids aged 5-11.
"There is no reason to leave our children unprotected," he said. "There is no reason that your child should get infected and infect others when his whole life is ahead of him."
Bennett added that coronavirus is still around and that cases are rising in Europe.
"The most threatening thing is not the current situation — but what we don't know yet [about the virus]" he said.
The Health Ministry's expert panel on Wednesday voted with an overwhelming majority in favor of administering Pfizer's and BioNTech's pediatric COVID-19 vaccines to children aged 5-11 and the inoculation drive for that age group is set to take off over the next week or two.
Bennett's comments came while he and senior aides holed up in a war bunker on Thursday during a national exercise simulating an outbreak of a lethal new COVID-19 variant.
The prime minister described the day-long “Omega Drill”, named after a fictitious virus strain, as a precaution to ensure Israel was prepared for “any scenario”.
The drill involved civilian and military leaders being subjected to mass testing, hospital admissions and curfews, Bennett’s office said in a statement. Findings from the exercise will be shared with foreign partners.
“Israel is safe and protected. In order to maintain this, and to safeguard the continuity of normal life, we must continue to closely monitor the situation and prepare for any scenario,” the statement quoted him as saying.
The statement said nothing to indicate the government believed a lethal new coronavirus strain was imminent.