Israel’s Health Ministry has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash announced Sunday evening, according to Israeli media.
The decision comes about two weeks since the US Food and Drug Administration gave its own approval and it has started to be administered in the United States, with about 1 million children already having received their first dose, Reuters reports.
Vaccine doses are expected to arrive in Israel in the coming days, with Israel set to begin its vaccination campaign next week.
Prof. Ash said on Sunday that a majority of the team in charge of epidemics members thought the COVID-19 vaccine was safe and “the benefits of the vaccine significantly outweigh the risks,” with 73 voting in favor and only two against vaccinating this age group, according to Haaretz.
Children are expected to receive about one-third of the size of the adult doses, or 10 microgram doses compared to the 30 micrograms typically given to those 12 and older.
Pfizer and BioNTech have said their vaccine showed 90.7 percent efficacy against the coronavirus in a clinical trial of children aged five to 11, according to Reuters.
Four million have taken booster shots, which were approved in August for anyone who had their second Pfizer shot at least five months earlier. The Israeli government has kept schools and the economy mainly open during the fourth wave of infections, hoping to beat the pandemic with booster shots, mandated masks, and a “Green Pass” system.