Pediatricians Call for Mandatory Vaccinations for Preschoolers

Professional association calls for universal adoption of local Initiative, calling it 'likely to significantly reduce cases of contagion, morbidity and even mortality'

File photo: Israeli children at a preschool.
Tomer Appelbaum

The largest professional association for Israeli pediatricians is calling to make proof of up-to-date immunizations a condition for admittance to preschool.

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In a letter they sent to the ministers of health, of education and of labor, social affairs and social services, the heads of the Israel Pediatric Association, Prof. Shai Ashkenazi and Dr. Tzahi Grossman, called for the universal adoption of an initiative introduced recently in a private preschool network in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Hasharon. The letter was also sent to the Union of Local Authorities in Israel.

The initiative, whch is called Hagan Hamehusan (“the vaccinated preschool“) and “which is scheduled to be introduced into the national school systems, is likely to significantly reduce cases of contagion, morbidity and even mortality among Israeli children,” Ashkenazi and Grossman wrote. “It is recommended that parents join the initiative, thereby putting the health of their children first.”

The association asks preschools to require parents to present an up-to-date vaccination record booklet for their children.

“In order to prevent harm to the children’s health and safety, and after a thorough investigation of the subject, we are calling on parents - vaccinate your children and join the struggle, in order to prevent cases of morbidity, contagion and epidemics, which could have been prevented,” wrote the doctors in the letter.

“With the help of such an initiative, together we will succeed in preventing illnesses in the coming school year, and in creating a safe and protected environment for Israeli children in the education systems, in order to significantly reduce the instances of morbidity throughout the country.”

The initiative for preschool vaccinations, which was initially publicized last week in the daily Yedioth Ahronoth, is expected to commence in the coming school year as a pilot program. The program makes the admittance of children to the Pashut Gan day care center in Ramat Hasharon conditional upon presentation of their vaccination record.

The objective of the pilot, according to the pediatric association, is to encourage parents to immunize their children. According to the report, additional preschools have already expressed interest in the initiative, which they expect to introduce elsewhere in the coming years.