Israel Green Lights Vaccinating Kids Aged 5-11 With Severe Underlying Illness

The Health Ministry will examine each child on a case-by-case basis, and would only give approval it is highly likely that the child risks severe illness or death if COVID was contracted

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A minor receives a coronavirus vaccine in Givatayim, last month.
A minor receives a coronavirus vaccine in Givatayim, last month.Credit: Daniel Bar-On

Israel is poised to begin vaccinating children aged five to 11 who have severe underlying health problems, after the Health Ministry told health maintenance organizations that it was permissible on Tuesday.

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To begin with, the ministry said that children in this age group will only be vaccinated when there is “a high likelihood of severe illness and even death” from contracting the coronavirus.

Each child will be examined individually and that the jab will only be approved on a case-by-case basis, the ministry added.

Conditions mentioned by the Health Ministry as a possible basis for considering vaccination of children include extreme obesity, severe chronic lung diseases, a severely compromised immune system, neurodevelopmental disorders, and congestive heart failure.

Earlier this month, the panel of coronavirus experts advising the Health Ministry began examining the possibility of beginning to vaccinate children under the age of 12 with serious underlying medical conditions.

A member of the panel told Haaretz then that there were disagreements on approving the move, as Pfizer has not yet completed its clinical trials of its vaccine in the age group.

The pharmaceutical giant is expected to complete the trials in September, after which it can request approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A Health Ministry official said that “given the lack of data on vaccinating the 5-11 age group, we ask that the insuring HMO conduct active monitoring of symptoms soon after receiving the vaccine.”

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