The Green Pass mandate was implemented in Israel too late despite health experts' opinion and came at the cost of many Israeli lives, said the head of Public Health at the Health Ministry on Thursday.
The Green Pass is a document that grants access to public venues for those who have either been fully inoculated against COVID-19 or have recently recovered from it.
"The Green Pass was put into effect too late. We recommended activating it earlier and maybe we could have saved some human lives,” said Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis.
"If the Green Pass was meant to force people to receive the vaccine, it should have never between scrapped in-between Israel’s COVID waves."
Alroy-Preis’ remarks were made during a meeting of the Knesset's Special Committee for the Rights of the Child, which convened following Pfizer Inc's announcement that it had submitted clinical trial data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in order for it to expand its vaccine approval to include children aged 5-11.
“We'll get the data and see what the FDA has to say. As always we will make the most professional decision. There may be an open discussion for the public because this issue is significant and controversial,” said Alroy-Preis regarding Pfizer’s announcement.
"We do not yet know all the long-term effects and side effects. There may be none and there may be catastrophic side effects," she added.
She said if and when the vaccination campaign for young children begins, it will be up to the parents to decide whether to inoculated them. "There is a virus that we know affects our tissues. We know from adults that the disease can even cause changes in the brain... The decision is up to the child and the parents. I would not want parents to treat their children if they did not know it was good for them."
Alroy-Preis also elaborated on Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory syndrome (PIMS), which can occur among children who have recovered from COVID.
"We have asked hospitals to report both future and past PIMS cases, so that we have a better understanding of how common it is, because it seems that the syndrome's prevalence is increasing with the current wave of the Delta variant,” said Alroy-Preis.
Alroy-Preis also talked about the long-term effects of coronavirus, known as long COVID, among children.
"We could find ourselves in a situation where thousands of children have difficulty making an effort, or concentrating in school. So you can't say [COVID] is a mild illness."