On Sunday, Health Ministry officials said that coronavirus vaccines for children between the ages of 5 and 11 could be given a green light from mid-November, after the expected approval of the vaccines by the FDA. Salman Zarka, the coronavirus czar, said that young Israeli children would receive the vaccine a couple of weeks after those in the US. Zarka is leading the national efforts for dealing with the pandemic and said that mid-November seemed to be a reasonable deadline after the discussion of experts. He added that earlier as well, international experts first discussed the matter after approval of the FDA and then the director-general of the Health Ministry approved them.
Zarka said that they were planning to take the same route this time and wanted to explain to the parents for encouraging them to get their kids vaccinated. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Friday that kid-size doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine seem to be quite effective in preventing infections amongst children and don’t appear to have any unexpected safety issues. Nachman Ash, the director-general of the Health Ministry, said on Sunday that the research would be examined by Israeli officials before they grant permission to administer the shot to children below the age of 12.
He said that they would discuss the results of the research presented by Pfizer and then decide whether to give approval or not, which would take a few weeks. Pfizer’s data was analyzed by the FDA and they published their analysis ahead of the public meeting of outside experts scheduled on Tuesday for voting whether the shots should be administered to kids or not. If the shots receive authorization from the FDA, further recommendations would be made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for identifying who should get the vaccine first.
Hence, children could begin receiving vaccinations in the US from as early as next month. So far, Israel has been closely following the FDA when it comes to guidelines regarding the usage of COVID-19 vaccine. It had decided to break away when it came to administering booster shots to the general population. Full-strength shots of the vaccine are already approved in Israel for anyone aged 12 or above. However, a number of parents and pediatricians are eagerly awaiting protection for young kids in order to prevent infections from the contagious Delta variant and for keeping kids out of quarantine.
For now, the fourth wave appears to be ending in Israel, as serious cases and new infections have been dropping significantly in the last few weeks. The chief of public health services of the Health Ministry, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis said on Sunday that the country was exiting the fourth wave. It is expected that the morbidity would continue to decline, as will the number of new cases. She said that were going to present an exit plan to the government. Only 324 people tested positive on Saturday, which brought the rate to 0.98%. It has gone below 1% for the first time since June.