Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi / Flash 90
Israeli teen receives the COVID-19 vaccine at the Clalit HMO in Jerusalem, Sept. 1, 2021

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday was advised by its experts’ committee to authorize the Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, which would include some 28 million American children in the country’s effort to create herd immunity against the virus. Should the Israeli government follow suit, the move would increase the number of vaccinated Israelis to over 7 million, out of a population of some 9 million.

The Pfizer dose for younger children would be a third of the strength of the normal shot that’s given to individuals 12 and older, followed by two additional shots three weeks apart. Apparently, experts believe that this strategy would lower the risk of heart-related side effects that have been reported in youths ages 12 to 18.

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The committee vote to approve the vaccine for young children was 17-0 in favor, with one member abstaining. The vast majority of the medical community in the US has supported extending the vaccine to younger children citing the fact that 8,300 children ages 5 to 11 have been hospitalized with Covid-19, and close to 100 have died since the outbreak of the pandemic.

The New York Times cited top CDC vaccine official Dr. Amanda Cohn who said the coronavirus is “the eighth-highest killer of kids in this age group over the past year,” and that “Use of this vaccine will prevent deaths, will prevent ICU admissions and will prevent significant long-term adverse outcomes in children.”

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and senior Health Ministry officials will hold a discussion Wednesday on giving the OK to vaccinate children ages 5 to 11. Members of the immunization committee, which advises the Health Ministry, are also expected to convene a meeting Wednesday. Despite the official FDA approval which is expected to follow the advisory committee’s recommendation in the US, the approval in Israel will probably not be given immediately, and more than one vaccination committee hearing is expected.

According to the Health Ministry, 727 individuals have tested positive on Tuesday and 205 since midnight, constituting only 0.85% of the tests on Tuesday. There are 154 Corona patients in critical condition, and 137 on ventilators. A total of 8,063 have died in Israel since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Also on the Corona front: starting November 15, Israel will allow the entry of tourists who were vaccinated with the Russian Sputnik vaccine, Reshet Bet radio reported Wednesday. These tourists’ entry is conditional on a serological examination to be performed in Israel. Prime Minister Bennett’s decision on this matter was made after he met with President Putin two weeks ago, despite the fact the Russian vaccine has not yet been recognized by the World Health Organization.

What’s international approval between friends?

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.