Israeli Ministry of Health on Thursday held an open public discussion about vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 against COVID-19.
The five-hour meeting, which was broadcast live, aimed to present to the ministry’s vaccination advisory committee and pandemic response team the professional basis before deciding whether to recommend vaccinating children in this age range.
The meeting took place six days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the emergency use of the pediatric dose for children in that age group.
At the discussion, Alejandra Gurtman, Vice President for R&D vaccine at Pfizer, presented test results regarding the efficacy and safety of the company’s vaccine for children aged 5-11. Then the experts presented data on COVID-19 morbidity, complications, side effects and trends in the age range.
The discussion also included a hearing in which 16 people selected from the Israeli public presented their positions. Ministry experts answered selected questions sent from the public.
Another discussion will take place in the coming days, in which the ministry’s committee and team will examine the data and decide whether to recommend a national campaign to vaccinate children.
The general vaccination campaign in Israel began on Dec. 20, 2020, with the first phase targeting mainly people aged over 65. Since then, the age of eligibility has been gradually lowered, and those aged 12 and above have been eligible for the shots.