Israel Mulls Scrapping Age Limit for Vaccine

Israelis receive a COVID-19 vaccine, at a Maccabi Health vaccination center at the Givatayim mall, Wednesday. (Miriam ALster/Flash90)

Israel is set to scrap the age limit for vaccinations against coronavirus with a meeting on the issue scheduled for later in the day, a senior Health Ministry official said Wednesday.

The Health Ministry’s vaccination priority committee is reportedly set to meet in the evening to mull whether to scrap the age limit completely or expand it to include teens aged 16-18 in order to allow them to take their matriculation exams in schools.

The announcement came shortly after two of Israel’s kupot cholim, Clalit and Meuhedet, said they will be expanding their coronavirus vaccination campaign to allow people over the age of 35 to get inoculated.

The health funds said the decision was made in order “not to waste the ability to inoculate over 100,000 people a day.”

The Maccabi and Leumit health funds have yet to announce the lowering of the age limit.

In light of the HMOs’ announcement, the Health Ministry said the changes to vaccinate the public below the age of 40 must be made in coordination between the health funds and the ministry’s officials.

“All decisions are made in accordance with the situation in the field and the amount of available supply,” the ministry said.

According to estimates by the Health Ministry, 77% of Israelis over 60 have been vaccinated. Among people aged 30-39, 16% have been inoculated, among those aged 40-49, 30% have been vaccinated, and 51% among those age 50-59 have received the vaccine.