Vaccines Offer Significant Protection to Kids, Teens Against Omicron, Israeli Study Finds

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is also weighing up a proposal to exempt schoolchildren who come into contact with COVID carriers from quarantine

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Haaretz
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A child receives the COVID vaccine in Jerusalem, last week.
A child receives the COVID vaccine in Jerusalem, last week.Credit: Emil Salman
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Haaretz

The coronavirus vaccine offers a high level of protection to children and teenagers against omicron, a data analysis by the Health Ministry and leading Israeli medical institutions shows.

According to their findings, children aged 5 through 11 who received the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine within the past two months are twice as protected against coronavirus as unvaccinated children.

The study also found that teenagers aged 12 through 15 who received the booster shot in the past two months were four times more protected from coronavirus than their unvaccinated peers.

Researchers from the Health Ministry, Weizmann Institute of Science, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Gertner Institute for Health Policy and Epidemiology at Sheba Medical Center analyzed infection and vaccination data to gauge the effectiveness of the inoculation among children.

The study took place during the outbreak of the highly-infectious omicron variant from December to January, and compared children who received two doses of the COVID vaccine or the booster shot within the past three months with unvaccinated individuals.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is expected to hold talks with Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz and top officials in the ministry in the coming days to consider a proposal to exempt schoolchildren from quarantine if they were exposed to a COVID patient.

According to this proposal, any student exposed to an infected person will be regularly tested and will not need to quarantine. It is not yet clear how frequent this testing would be, and how long it would continue.

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