12/14/2021, 13.21
ISRAEL
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Many young Israeli parents against COVID-19 vaccine for children

Only 47 per cent of respondents aged 25-34 years and 46 per cent aged 35-44 are in favour of the vaccine for the 5-11-year group. In the general population, the approval rate is 56 per cent, rising with age. Three weeks after the vaccination campaign started, only 110,000 children out of 1.2 million received a dose. Long COVID-19 is risk for young people as well.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – A relative majority of young Israeli parents are against vaccinating children. This segment of adults is most likely to have children aged 5 and 11, the new target group to be immunised against COVID-19.

For almost a year, Israel has been the place where the effectiveness of the campaign against the novel coronavirus was de facto tested, thanks to an agreement with one of the major drug manufacturers and broad application of a third dose to large part of the population.

Recently, health and government authorities have decided to immunise elementary school children, who report a rising number of infections, especially in light of the Omicron variant, much more contagious than those known so far.

According to a survey of almost 800 Hebrew and Arabic speaking Israelis by the Jerusalem-based Israel Democracy Institute (IDI), conducted between 29 November and 1 December, only 47 per cent of respondents aged 25 to 34 and 46 per cent aged 35 to 44 are in favour of the vaccine for children.

By contrast, overall support for immunization in the 5-11 age group rises to 56 per cent.

Since the campaign started three weeks ago, only 110,000 children aged 5 to 11 have been vaccinated out of a total of 1.2 million.

Support for children's immunisation increases with age: 56 per cent among 45-54-year-olds, 63 per cent among 55-64-year-olds, and 73 per cent among those over 65.

Younger people in their late teens and early 20s also backed childhood vaccination at a higher rate than 25-44-year-olds, with 58 per cent voicing approval.

The survey by IDI shows that women are more in favour of childhood vaccination than men (61 per cent versus 51 per cent) and that secular Jews (65 per cent) are more willing to vaccinate their children than religious Jews.

When it comes to vaccines for children, 67 per cent of left-wing voters approve against 62 per cent for centrist voters and 52 per cent for right-wing voters.

Overall, IDI “found that the majority supports vaccinating children, without a significant difference between Jews and Arabs.”

Speaking with Haaretz last month, Dr Sharon Alroy-Preis, one of Israel’s top health experts, said that unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people, including children, were the main vector for the spread of the virus.

She was highly critical of the low immunisation rate among children, 2 per cent of whom suffer from the effects of the so-called long COVID with the incidence rising to 4.6 per cent among those over 12.

In addition, she warned that, even if the long COVID affects only 1 per cent of children, it could put thousands at risk in the long term with important repercussions on public health.

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