Coronavirus: Should you vaccinate your child?

The Health Ministry said that 40% of new coronavirus cases are in youth under the age of 18.

A nurse works in the new COVID-19 ICU for children at Hadassah-University Medical Center (photo credit: Courtesy)
A nurse works in the new COVID-19 ICU for children at Hadassah-University Medical Center
(photo credit: Courtesy)
As the number of children and teens diagnosed with coronavirus continues to increase, parents are wondering if they should inoculate their children.
The Israeli Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases and the Israeli Pediatric Association put out a position paper on Thursday saying that children should only be vaccinated in extreme circumstances, because most children experience mild cases of coronavirus or are asymptomatic if infected.
In addition, the first Pfizer and Moderna clinical trials did not include any children under the age of 16. Trials are under way with youth ages 12 to 16, but those results are only expected in the next few months.
In the meantime, the pediatric societies said that there are cases where vaccination could be recommended. These include for children who live in a house where someone suffers from severe immunosuppression. In addition, they recommended vaccination for children who have any of the following diseases: morbid obesity; neurodevelopmental disorders, including seizures and congenital syndromes; diabetes; lung disease, including asthma; certain immune disorders; cancer; heart disease or pulmonary hypertension; renal failure; or sickle cell anemia.
The societies said that any parent who believes their child should get the jab should see their physician and receive a recommendation and referral. The final decision about vaccination should be approved by Dr. Boaz Lev, chairman of the Health Ministry’s coronavirus vaccination committee.
Children under 12 should not be considered for vaccination at all, they wrote.
The Health Ministry confirmed to The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that there have already been 10 cases of children under the age of 16 who were vaccinated because of their high risk for contracting a serious case of COVID-19.
The ministry said that so far, no side effects have been reported by the youth. The societies recommended careful tracking of any youth who is vaccinated.
To date, more than 50,000 children and teens have been diagnosed with coronavirus since the start of the month. Earlier in the week, Head of Public Health Services Prof. Sharon Alroy-Preis told the Knesset that around 40% of all new cases are children under 18, with the largest spike among those between the ages of six and nine.
In addition, Hadassah-University Medical Center opened a coronavirus intensive care unit for children amid a small group of new cases among babies and toddlers.
Students between 16 and 18 began being vaccinated last Saturday night, as part of the country’s mass vaccination campaign. The goal is to allow those teens to return to school and take their matriculation exams.