Israel’s initiative to have school nurses innoculate Israeli children with COVID-19 vaccines ended on Tuesday after just two-and-a-half weeks of being implemented, Public Health Services director Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis announced Tuesday night.
School nurses, who usually innoculate children with commonly-distributed vaccines such as the measles vaccine, were directed to delay the flu, measles and mumps vaccination schedules in favor of COVID-19 shots. The program led to 56,00 children receiving COVID-19 vaccines at school.
In a discussion held in the Knesset's Education Committee, Ziva Stahl, the director of the Department of Health Education and Promotion at the Ministry of Education, noted that the COVID-19 vaccines were discontinued in favor of the previously-planned routine vaccines – adding that children would still be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 at other healthcare facilities.
The in-school vaccination initiative began on December 23rd. “We are on the verge of a fifth wave of the pandemic, which may be more intense than the previous ones,” Tel Aviv-Yafo Mayor Ron Huldai said in a statement announcing the initiative. “It is important that we show solidarity and personal responsibility, so, this week we will start vaccinating children aged 6 and over, in schools and during school hours - just like all other children's vaccines given in schools.”
Aryeh Moore, deputy director of the Education Ministry's security division, presented data during the discussion on child vaccination rates, showing that 41% of first-graders, 43.5% of second-graders, 46% of third-graders, 48% of fourth-graders, 51% of fifth-graders, 52% of sixth-graders, 62% of seventh-graders, and about 70% of eighth-grade to twelfth-grade students are vaccinated against COVID-19, Ynet reports.
Moore also supported the vaccination initiative, even asking for a one-week extension to the operation so that school nurses could innoculate members of the Arab population, who are returning from winter break and are among Israel’s least-frequently vaccinated cohort.