On Wednesday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will conduct a meeting with top health officials in the country to decide about approving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11, after the FDA granted approval for it. This meeting will also include the top coronavirus advisers of the Health Ministry, along with Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz. It comes after the US Food and Drug Administration endorsed giving low doses of the Pfizer vaccine to kids on Tuesday evening. The advisory panel of the FDA voted unanimously and there was only just one abstention that the benefits of the vaccine in preventing the coronavirus are higher than the potential risks.
A heart-related side effect is one of the risks that has shown up rarely in young adults and teenagers who have gotten a much higher dose of the vaccine. According to Israeli health experts, the FDA example would eventually lead to local approval and kids under the age of 12 could start getting vaccinated as early as mid-November. Nachman Ash, the Director of the Health Ministry said on Wednesday that they would begin vaccinating children in a few weeks. He later predicted that the campaign was expected to begin in late November.
Ash said that the vaccine would be different from the adults because the dose would be lower, making it easier to inject. He also noted that Israel hasn’t yet received a shipment for these specially packed lower doses from Pfizer. He also added that Israel would have its own approval process and a meeting of its expert panel is scheduled for next week. He said that even after the approval of the FDA, they want to have their own independent and informed process. He went on to say that they wanted the approval process to be more transparent and the public would also be provided with relevant data and statistics.
Ash also added that members of the public would also be allowed to express their opinions in the hearing. Despite the fall in COVID-19 cases in Israel recently, Ash encouraged parents to get their kids vaccinated. He said that the country had to be ready for another wave and the infections would be less severe, if more people would be vaccinated. He disclosed that health officials were already working on rolling out the vaccines for children as quickly as possible. He said that they would use different available channels for administering the vaccines, including schools, health maintenance organizations as well as other locations.
However, as cases are falling all over the country, there is a good chance that most parents may not get their children vaccinated soon. On Wednesday, Ash stated that a lot of parents were going to be hesitant initially, so they weren’t expecting a mass rush. On Tuesday, the total number of positive cases in Israel were 727, which brings the positivity rate to about 0.85% making it the lowest in four months. COVID-19 vaccine was rolled out for kids between 12 and 15 in June and 56% of children in this age bracket have received at least a single dose.