Israel kicks off COVID-19 vaccine rollout for children 5-11

Around 600 children have already received the coronavirus vaccine, and 20,000 more have appointments. 'Holiday for children and parents.'

Nitzan Keidar ,

Vaccinating children (illustrative)
Vaccinating children (illustrative)
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

The official rollout for COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11 kicked off Tuesday morning, although on Monday night, approximately 600 children around Israel received their first doses of the vaccine.

Clalit, Israel's largest HMO, reported that 350 children have received the vaccines so far, while Maccabi reported 250 children vaccinated. Meuhedet reported just over 30.

However, parents' excitement to vaccinate is clear: Over 20,000 vaccination appointments have already been scheduled at the four HMOs.

Israel has approximately 1.2 million children between the ages of 5-11 years old, 20% of whom have recovered from coronavirus and will therefore not be vaccinated at this stage.

On Monday evening, coronavirus czar Professor Salman Zarka said, "This day is a holiday for children and for parents, who will be able to protect their children."

"Sometimes, the illness is light or even asymptomatic in children, but sometimes, it can worsen so that it harms memory, causes sleep problems, and more. We recognized the phenomenon of severe systemic damage, which appears a few weeks after the illness.

"In addition to protecting the children, the vaccine allows the option of normal life. Many children are having a hard time returning to normal routine because of the contact with confirmed cases. The vaccine solves the problem of needing to quarantine, whether with regards to exposure at school or after traveling abroad."

Prof. Zarka added: "I call on parents to receive their information from reliable sources. On every issue, it's important to make a decision based on an accredited source. It is recommended to turn to the medical and professional staff in the health funds with any question you have."