Israel calls for vaccination of all adolescents, citing delta variant

Israel calls for vaccination of all adolescents, citing delta variant

Israel recommended Monday that all 12-15 year olds be vaccinated against Covid-19, citing new outbreaks attributed to the more infectious delta variant.

Israel expanded vaccine eligibility to include adolescents last month, but so far the matter has been left to parental preference.

With around three-quarters of Israelis in eligible age groups having received the vaccine, infections have declined sharply, from a peak of more than 10,000 daily cases in January to single-digit days this month.

The country has since dropped almost all of its social distancing restrictions, although its borders remain largely closed to tourists.

But Covid-19 recurrences were recorded in two schools last week and the daily positivity rate is slowly rising, data from the Ministry of Health showed.

In response, the ministry issued a formal recommendation for 12-15 year olds to get vaccinated, noting that overseas travel is expected to increase over the summer.

Nachman Ash, the national pandemic response coordinator, said earlier that the decision “would definitely be correct at this point.”

“We shouldn’t expect higher numbers. We have seen that there were quite a few children infected over the past week.”

Separately, Israel’s health minister said the government would start fining Israelis who travel to countries deemed unsafe due to high levels of infection.

Israel has been a world leader with its vaccine deployment and has shared the data it collected with Pfizer, which provided the vaccines.