Israel urges vaccination for all teens, citing delta variant

Israel on Monday recommended vaccinating all 12-15 year olds against Covid-19, citing new outbreaks attributable to the more contagious Delta variant.

Israel extended vaccine eligibility to teenagers last month, but has so far left the matter to parents.

With around three-quarters of Israelis in suitable age groups receiving the vaccine, infections have fallen sharply from a high of more than 10,000 daily cases in January to single-digit days this month.

The country has since lifted almost all of its social distancing restrictions, although its borders remain largely closed to tourists.

But Covid-19 recurrences were logged in two schools last week and the daily positivity rate is rising again, data from the Ministry of Health showed.

In response, the ministry issued a formal recommendation for 12-15 year olds to get vaccinated, noting that overseas travel is expected to increase in the summer.

Nachman Ash, the national pandemic response coordinator, previously said the move “would certainly be correct at this point.”

“We shouldn’t wait for higher numbers. We saw that a few children became infected in the last week.”

Separately, the Israeli health minister said the government would impose fines on Israelis who travel to countries considered unsafe due to high numbers of infections.

Israel is the world leader in vaccine adoption and has shared the data it collects with Pfizer, which provided the vaccines.

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