Campaign to Promote Covid Shots for Kids Begins

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Now that the Health Ministry has approved vaccination of children 5-11, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett took the next step on Thursday—trying to persuade parents to approve it.

“There is no reason to leave our children unprotected,” said Bennett, according to The Times of Israel. “There is no reason that your child should get infected and infect others when his whole life is ahead of him.”

Bennett noted that COVID is still around and cases are rising in Europe: “The most threatening thing is not the current situation — it’s what we don’t know yet.”

A Health Ministry panel of medical experts gave the go-ahead for vaccinating kids by an overwhelming 73-2 vote on Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash reiterated official policy Thursday that no sanctions will be imposed on kids whose parents do not vaccinate them.

“We want the parents to make the right health decision. It’s true that the lives of those who are vaccinated are more comfortable, but we do not want anyone to decide based on economic considerations, so the [virus] tests will continue to be free,” Ash told Army Radio.

Ash said the vaccine drive for that age group would begin later this month, as the kid-size doses were undergoing final inspection by Pfizer. “It would not be right to wait for a rise in morbidity. We do not know when this will happen and vaccinations take time [to take effect],” Ash told the Kan public broadcaster.

“Even now there are about 200 children who get infected each day, and we want to prevent that,” he added.

Asked if children who recovered from the virus would be required to be vaccinated, Ash said it hasn’t been decided yet. “There’s a chance we’ll take this to a deeper discussion. We do not want to vaccinate if we don’t need to, but we also do not want children who were infected a long time ago to think they are protected even though they are not,” he told Army Radio.