JERUSALEM (AP) – Israel approved the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine to children between the ages of 5 and 11 on Sunday.
The Ministry of Health’s decision follows approval by US health authorities earlier this month to approve the vaccine for the same age group.
Israel was one of the first countries in the world to carry out a large vaccination campaign in its adult and adolescent population earlier this year and became the first country to carry out a large recall campaign during the summer.
Experts say Israel’s aggressive vaccination efforts have helped curb the spread of the coronavirus and keep a recent spate of the delta variant in check. But it has seen the coronavirus continue to spread among unvaccinated populations, including children.
In a note, the Ministry of Health said that its director general, Dr. Nachman Ash accepted a recommendation from expert advisors to inoculate infants with the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine. He said a majority of consultants believed the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risks.
The ministry said it will announce a date for the campaign to start in the coming days. Israeli media have said vaccinations of a child-friendly dose of the vaccine are expected to begin next week.