Israel approves Covid-19 vaccines for children aged 5 to 11

Children aged from 12 to 17 are already receiving vaccinations

A medic holds a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at a centre in Taibeh, northern Israel. Photo: AFP
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Israel has recommended vaccination against Covid-19 for children aged between 5 and 11.

It joins other countries offering vaccines to young children, including the US, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Cambodia, Colombia and Cuba.

“The director general of the ministry of health authorised the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 years,” the health ministry said.

Authorities had already begun vaccinating minors aged 12 to 17 but decided to lower the age threshold after trials by Pfizer and recommendations from a panel of Israeli scientists.

Israel was one of the first countries to launch a vaccination campaign last year using the shots, thanks to a deal with Pfizer that gave it access to millions of doses in exchange for data on the vaccine's efficacy.

The vaccination campaign allowed the health authorities to fully vaccinate 5.7 million of the country's nine million population.

The latest announcement came as health authorities reported 220 new infections over the previous day.

It marked a plunge from daily cases that topped 10,000 in late August and early September, driven by the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

A campaign for a third booster vaccine appeared central to driving down infections.

Results of clinical trials using the Pfizer shot on children showed the vaccine was 90.7 per cent effective in preventing symptoms of the illness.

“The majority of experts believe that the benefits of vaccinating children outweigh the risks,” the ministry said.

The ministry will announce the date for the start of inoculations for young children in coming days.

Updated: November 15, 2021, 6:17 AM