coronavirus vaccine
coronavirus vaccineYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Israel's vaccination campaign is expanding to include citizens over the age of 35 after Health Ministry Director Hezi Levy issued directives to the HMOs Wednesday.

As of this morning, 2,770,808 Israelis had received the first vaccine dose and 1,385,399 people had received the second dose.

Israel Hayom reported this morning that despite the COVID-19 vaccine being approved only from the age of 16 and up, at least ten children below 16 have been vaccinated.

All cases have been approved by the Exceptions Committee, and the children who have been vaccinated are children with severe lung disease, abnormal neurological conditions, or obesity - all of which lead to an increased risk of complications should they come down with COVID-19.

The Ministry of Health stated that no side effects were reported. Pfizer's vaccine has been approved for emergency use in Israel from the age of 16 and up, but the Ministry of Health's Priority Committee has ruled that every health care center will have a procedure for circumventing the rules.

Prof. Eli Somekh, an infectious disease specialist and director of the pediatric ward at Maaynei Hayeshua Hospital and a member of the committee, says that "I have encountered several cases of children, especially those aged 12 and over, who needed the vaccine."

He added that "in children with significant background diseases there is a concern that corona may be a serious disease. These are children with extreme obesity, severe lung disease, or metabolic diseases. In such children, the benefit of the vaccine far outweighs the uncertainty about the vaccine."

Prof. Somekh noted that among the children who were vaccinated with lung transplant children or patients with cystic fibrosis. Vaccination can also be approved in cases where the parent has transplanted organs. Transplant recipients are one of the groups considered to be at higher risk than the general population.