Prime Minister Naftali Bennett claimed Sunday at the opening of a the weekly Cabinet meeting that two British middle school students who had contracted the Omicron variant had recently passed away.
However, this did not occur, according to an investigation by Channel 12.
“The Omicron variant also attacks children. We see this in other countries and are also seeing this in Israel. Just this week two middle school classmates in England died from Omicron. One was not vaccinated at all, and the second, it seems, was only partially vaccinated. We are also seeing children being struck in Israel,” Bennett said.
“Therefore, I call on parents: The way to protect your children is simply to vaccinate them, to give them this protection. Do not waste a moment, take them today to get vaccinated even without making an appointment. It only takes a few minutes,” he said.
“Children in Israel are mostly unvaccinated – this is the truth. Most Israeli children at the moment are not vaccinated, not even with the first dose. Therefore, go and utilize these precious days, or we will not succeed in defeating and delaying Omicron. Now is the time to get organized.”
Bennett’s words sounded puzzling in light of the World Health Organization’s announcement a few days ago that no deaths from the new variant spreading around the world have been identified so far. Also, reports from Europe have suggested that even on the continent, which has recently faced a wave of acute illness, no death or serious illness has been found among the hundreds of new cases of the variant.
There is an apparent decline of 35% in first dose vaccines administered over the past week.
Some 36,321 mostly young children ages 5 to 11 received their first dose of the jab, down from 55,802 during the previous week.
A drop was also seen in people arriving to receive their booster shot with 23,813 vaccines administered, down from 25,420 during the previous week, indicating a 6% reduction.
Bennett also said the government was considering a rollout of an additional, fourth dose of the vaccine for the at-risk population.
The Health Ministry on Sunday released data collected over the past week, which shows 4,169 new COVID-19 cases confirmed, a 15% increase from the previous week.
The R factor – indicating spread of the virus in the community, dropped slightly and stands on 1.09.
The ministry also said that 44% of those confirmed with the virus on Shabbos were under the age of 11, the 12-15 age group made up 6%, and 5% were over 60 years of age.