חיסון קורונה
The coronavirus vaccine
Photo: AP
A child receives the coronavirus vaccine

Ahead of vote, top Israeli health professionals back pediatric COVID-19 vaccines

Health experts tell Ynet inoculation of children aged 5-11 is important and outweighs potential risks; 'No one in Health Ministry would endanger our children,' says a top pediatrician at Clalit HMO

Alexandra Lukash |
Published: 11.10.21, 15:52
Top Israeli health professionals on Wednesday threw their support behind pediatric COVID vaccines ahead of the vote of the expert panel on authorizing use of jabs for children aged 5-11.
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  • After days of discussions, the panel of experts advising the government is set to vote on the move, a week after U.S. Center for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration both approved the administration of the pediatric COVID-19 vaccines to the age groups.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    חיסון ילדים התחסנות מתחסנים קורונה
    חיסון ילדים התחסנות מתחסנים קורונה
    A child receives the coronavirus vaccine
    (Photo: Shutterstock)
    "Whenever you get a drug or vaccine, there is a certain concern. There is no drug or vaccine that is completely safe,” said Prof. Nadav Davidovitch, an expert in epidemiology and public health at Ben-Gurion University, in an interview with Ynet.
    “And yet, according to all the data, the risk from the vaccine is much smaller than the risk from the disease itself. It also gives us peace, because it not only protects our children, but also protects us as a society,” said Davidovitch, who added that both his grandchildren - aged 5 and 6 - will receive the vaccine after the government's approval.
    Davidovitch further addressed the claims that vaccinating children is unnecessary, due to the apparent ebbing of the pandemic around the world, and in Israel in particular.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    חיסון קורונה
    חיסון קורונה
    The coronavirus vaccine
    (Photo: AP)
    “The coronavirus is with us and it will not disappear… There are more than five million dead worldwide… People need to be told to get vaccinated right now, when things are calmer, so that they can cope later,” the health expert added.
    Davidovitch also supported the coronavirus cabinet’s decision to let tourists not vaccinated with the booster shot into Israel. "These people will not simply enter the country. They will be under supervision and will have to undergo tests. It is very similar to the Green Pass outline actually,” he explained.
    “I think the problem is less in the outline itself, which seems reasonable to me, and more in the issue of enforcement. This is a chronic problem in Israeli society, and not just in the field of health.”
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    נפתלי בנט בקבינט הקורונה
    נפתלי בנט בקבינט הקורונה
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the coronavirus cabinet's discussion, November 10
    (Photo: GPO)
    Dr. Dana Akmati-Azaria, Pediatric Coordinator in the Clalit Health Fund, also expressed her support for vaccination of young children. "I do not think there is one person in the Health Ministry who will take the risk of endangering our children,” she said.
    Dr. Akmati-Azaria also lamented the government's decision to close off the discussion to the public due a wave of threats aimed at the country’s health experts, of whom some are in the panel advising the government on the pandemic.
    “I do not know what the considerations were. I can only guess. After all, once we talk about our children, we talk from emotion, not logic,” she explained. “Because it's such an emotionally tough topic, there's perhaps a fear that someone will latch onto one sentence that goes out of context.”

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