Health Ministry Signs Off on Covid Shots for Kids Under 5

By Hamodia Staff

Israel’s Health Ministry Director General Professor Nachman Ash. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

YERUSHALAYIM — Health Ministry director-general Nachman Ash gave his formal approval for administering the COVID-19 vaccine to children under 5 in Israel, but refrained from recommending it, as the ministry’s advisory panel did last week.

In a written decision, Ash explained that he had reviewed all relevant materials, “consulted with all the relevant professionals and weighed the issue with the utmost sincerity.”

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the vaccine is safe and that he “would give [the vaccine] now” to his young child if he had one, in an interview with Israel’s Channel 12 last month.

The Israeli advisory panel itself was divided on the matter, with 58 percent backing a recommendation for high-risk babies and toddlers, as well as permitting it for anyone in that age group.

The decision comes several weeks after U.S. health officials greenlighted the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the same age group. Israel must now purchase supplies of the vaccines specifically designed for young children. The exact date for the rollout in Israel will depend on when the doses arrive in the country.

The dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children is one-tenth of the adult dose, and three shots are needed. The first two are given three weeks apart, and the third at least two months later.

Former Likud MK and Moshe Feiglin blasted the decision, and warned that that anyone under 30 should “avoid the COVID vaccines like fire.”

The Health Ministry rejected Feiglin’s comment out of hand as “nonsense” and said that he has “no understanding of the issue.”

His position, the ministry said, stands “in contrast to all professional literature and international studies on the subject and to the guidance of official professional bodies in Israel and around the world.”

A study released by Israel’s Clalit Healthcare Services last week found that vaccines cut the risk of COVID infection in children ages 5-11 by half during Israel’s winter wave of the disease.

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