Vaccinating children (illustrative)
Vaccinating children (illustrative) iStock

Several Israeli doctors have spoken out in support of approving the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for children ages 5-11, following the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) decision to do the same.

Speaking to Galei Tzahal, Dr. Erez Birnbaum, Director General of Ashdod's Assuta Hospital, said, "I would be happy if there was a general recommendation to vaccinate children. Although the number of young people hospitalized is relatively small, we need to protect those who are seriously ill. We must remember that children are contagious just like adults are - I would bet that we will see another wave, and we need to be prepared for that."

Health Ministry Director General Professor Nachman Ash told Galei Tzahal, "We need to be prepared for another wave. The more people are vaccinated, the less harsh the wave of infections will be. Infections can cause more difficult complications than the vaccine. We will utilize all channels - the health funds, schools, and other places - in order to make the vaccine available to all children, so that there will be no delays in vaccination."

"I estimate that in another few weeks we will begin vaccinating children in Israel. This is a different vaccine than the vaccine for adults - it is a lower dose, and prepared for injection in an easier way. The doses have not yet arrived in Israel."

Dr. Itai Pessach, Director of the Children's Hospital at Sheba Medical Center, told the radio station, "We still have children hospitalized with post-corona. I believe that the vaccine will offer protection not only from the immediate symptoms, but also from the long-term symptoms. I recommend receiving the vaccine when it is approved. This will also be to the benefit of the public in managing the pandemic."

Dr. Moshe Ashkenazi, Deputy Director at the Children's Hospital at Sheba Medical Center, told the station: "There is no reason in the world not to vaccinate the children. In the world, there are increasing reports regarding the virulence of the Delta strain in young people. In Israel that may not be the case, but even we have seen that the number of infections among children is higher than in previous waves."

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