A health official said Tuesday that Israel is prepared both logistically and operationally to start vaccinating adolescents against coronavirus as soon as it gets the go-ahead.
"We began with the large-scale and complicated campaign to vaccinate the adult population, which today has already become the norm, and we will begin vaccinating children as soon as we get the OK from the FDA and protocols from the Health Ministry," said Dr. Galit Kaufman, the Northern District director at Maccabi Healthcare Services.
Since the launch of its inoculation drive, Israel has already vaccinated some children who suffer from severe preexisting conditions or who have close relatives that are in a risk group.
According to information obtained by Ynet, all children that received the shot felt well and showed no side effects.
Experts estimate that once the vaccine is rolled out for teens aged over 12, the approval process for younger children should be much faster given that the immune response is similar in both groups which will push the country to herd immunity quicker.
Following recent reports that Israel and Pfizer were working on a new vaccine supply deal after the Cabinet failed to meet last week to approve the purchase, Dr. Kaufman reassured that Israel has enough in stock to vaccinate all the country's adolescents.
"We estimate that we have enough vaccines," she said. "There is no problem with booking appointments. There are still about a million citizens who have yet to receive the shot and are within the approved groups. The moment we begin vaccinating kids — and we know that the doses are similar — we will have enough to inoculate them."
Dr. Kaufman added that the Health Ministry was preparing a public information campaign in the run-up to the beginning of the vaccine rollout which may take between several weeks to two months, pending FDA and Health Ministry approval.
"Parents will have to come with their children since they are minors," she said. "We will give out all the accurate data and protocols once it starts."
"We all want our children to be safe. This is an important step on the way toward herd immunity. We are worried about new variants and want to reinforce a human rampart against them. We want to vaccinate children as quickly as possible," she added.