Dealing with 'children's wave' of coronavirus
Dealing with 'children's wave' of coronavirusiStock

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Saturday evening issued guidelines for a series of steps to reduce COVID-19 infections during what has been dubbed "the children's wave."

Foremost among the instructions is to focus on vaccinating children ages 5-11: Forty-nine percent of new coronavirus cases are among children ages 0-11 years old. The vaccines for children arrived in Israel Saturday morning, and administration is expected to begin on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Bennett will bring his youngest child, nine-year-old David, to receive a vaccine immediately when the drive begins, and he will request that all ministers and Knesset members who have children of the relevant ages do the same and share the experience on social media.

On Sunday, Bennett will hold a special meeting focusing on preparations for Hanukkah, in light of the recent rise in infections among children. At this stage, it seems that holiday events will be held as usual, in accordance with the Green Pass rules. It will be clarified to those organizing events that surprise visits will be held and that the Green Pass rules will be enforced. In addition, Bennett has requested that the events be seen as an opportunity, and one of the ideas floated was to set up attractive vaccination booths at the entrance to halls and with children's stars in attendance.

Bennett has emphasized that the approach to vaccinating children will be one of "soft persuasion," without pressure or force. All of the information will be transparent and made accessible to the parents. The Prime Minister is also planning to hold, personally, meetings with teachers, pediatricians, and family physicians, who according to the research presented to him are the ones who have the greatest influence on a parent's decision whether or not to vaccinate their children.

Another sector of the population responsible in large part for the current infection rates in Europe are the "unvaccinated who think they are vaccinated": those who received two doses and who believe they are immune, but in fact are unprotected. In Israel, this group numbers 950,000, and the Prime Minister has instructed that efforts be focused on encouraging them to receive the booster dose.