Health Ministry okays COVID-19 vaccine for teens with medical conditions

Health Ministry approves provision of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those ages 12-15 who have pre-existing conditions.

Tags: Coronavirus
Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Coronavirus vaccine (illustrative)
Coronavirus vaccine (illustrative)
Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90     

Israel's Health Ministry has approved providing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to children ages 12-15, who have pre-existing conditions and who have asked medical advice, Israel Hayom reported.

The pre-existing conditions included are those which raise the risk of complications from coronavirus.

Over 800 children have been approved to receive the vaccination, Israel Hayom noted, adding that obesity is the most common reason for the requests.

The Ministry debated approving the vaccine prior to it receiving approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but in a discussion at the end of March, 84% of those of the coronavirus management staff believed Israel should wait for FDA approval. In a discussion this week, the staff noted that vaccinating children ages 12-15 is "essential for the protection of children and ending the pandemic" but that Israel "should wait for formal approval by the FDA and Health Ministry before recommending that children be vaccinated."

Dr. Yan MIskin, an expert in family medicine and infectious diseases at Clalit Health Services, said that Israel "has to act with caution and wait for FDA approval, conduct careful follow-up, and if there is a country which begins vaccinating before us - maybe consider waiting."

Professor Ron Dagan, an expert in infectious diseases at Soroka Medical Center, said: "If there was no value in vaccinating children, there would be an ethical issue in vaccinating them. It has great value for children, and it's important that the public know this. I am convinced from my experience that small children are not a very significant cause of infection. We need to make sure it is safe to vaccinate them."

A senior source in the health system said that "vaccinating children is expected to raise waves of opposition, which we have not seen until now. It requires transparent discussion in the Health Ministry, just like what the FDA is doing."

Another source in the health system said: "The decision to vaccinate children was made a while ago, without professional or public discussion. Questions are arising that did not arise with regards to vaccinating adults, such as whether to vaccinate children when the infection rate is dropping."