Israel’s pandemic response chief has said that he hopes to see a vaccine offered to children over the age of 12 from March if trial data supports the move.

Speaking on Tuesday, Nachman Ash, the national coordinator on the pandemic, told 103 FM radio that lowering the age threshold for the vaccine would help eradicate the coronavirus in Israel. 

“The fact that children under the age of 16 are not currently getting vaccinated is certainly troubling, in terms of the ability to achieve herd immunity,” he said. 

“I reckon that, in another month or two, there will be another cohort – the aged-12 and higher – that we can vaccinate.” 

Regulators around the world are yet to give permission to vaccinate children under the age of 16 against Covid-19, and it is only recently that children have been included in vaccine trails.  

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Israel is considered to have a relatively young population compared to most Western countries with 28 percent of its people being under the age of 14 in 2020.

Only 12 percent of Israelis are over 65. By comparison, 18 percent of Britons are over 65, according to data published by the Office for National Statistics in 2018. 

By lowering the threshold to 12, an additional 7.75 percent of Israel’s population can be inoculated against Covid-19, increasing the likelihood of achieving ‘herd immunity’ through vaccinations. 

Israel’s inoculation program is leading the rest of the world, with health authorities having administered one or both shots to five million of its nine million citizens.

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