COVID-19 vaccination: 49% of Israeli parents say will jab teens – survey

Science and Health
The Health Ministry is expected to announce its decision next week, Head of Public Health Sharon Alroy-Preis told Army Radio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said earlier this month that children as young as 12 could get the jab.
Some 49% of the general public said they would bring their children to be vaccinated and another 22% said they think they would come, according to the Meuhedet survey.
 However, that percentage was much lower among the Arab and haredi (ultra-Orthodox) sectors, where only about 38% of respondents said they would bring their children to get vaccinated.
“They said they would prefer to wait for other children to be vaccinated first,” explained Tamar Fishman-Magen, a registered nurse and a member of Meuhedet’s Nursing Division.
Some 13% of parents in the general sector said that they certainly do not intend to vaccinate their children.
Why would parents choose not to vaccinate?

Some 72% of parents in the general sector, 86% in the haredi sector and 17% in the Arab sector said they fear future harm to their children’s health from the vaccination. Most parents in the general sector said that seeing research on the safety of vaccines for children would help convince them to get their children inoculated.
Among all sectors, the majority (66% to 77%) said they would consult their child’s pediatrician before vaccinating.  
The survey was conducted among 5,644 parents of children between the ages of 12 and 16. Hebrew speakers were sent the survey digitally via text message or email. Arabic speakers answered a phone survey.
Fishman-Magen told The Jerusalem Post that the health fund conducted the survey because a much lower percentage of people aged under 20 sought a vaccination when that option opened to the public and they wanted to prepare themselves for what might be if and when the Health Ministry recommends younger teen vaccination.
So far, only 23.5% of eligible vaccine recipients under 20 have received the jab, compared to 77.2% of those aged 20-29.
In 92% of the households surveyed, at least one parent had been vaccinated, meaning that parents are more hesitant to inoculate their children than themselves.
The survey comes as the Health Ministry has been conducting several meetings around youth vaccination, after a report last month showed that a small percentage of people who received the Pfizer vaccine developed heart inflammation, known scientifically as myocarditis. Health officials are trying to determine if there was a link between the inflammation and the inoculation.
The condition often goes away without complications and has not been found to be directly caused by the vaccine, as such health officials have not ruled out vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds.
Fishman-Magen told the Post that health funds expect to start vaccinating within approximately two weeks, but if the Health Ministry gives the green light sooner, they are ready to start.
She confirmed reports that the Health Ministry has been considering a recommendation to inoculate these youngsters with only one dose of the vaccine, but said that as far as she knows, if approved, they are expected to receive two doses 21 days apart, like adults.
Dr. Yoav Yehezkelli of the Department of Emergency Management and Disaster in the School of Public Health at Tel Aviv University told the Post that he does believe children need to be vaccinated now because they tend to get mild cases of the virus and the rate of infection in Israel is extremely low.
“We should be carefully using these new vaccines on young people,” Yehezkelli said.
On May 27, the Health Ministry reported only 14 new cases were diagnosed the day before.
“At the present state, it is true that we only have very few children or even new cases of COVID-19, and in that sense, it does raise a question as to whether it is necessary to vaccinate,” Fishman-Magen said. “However, since we already know that the COVID-19 virus knows how to mutate and create variants that are different from the initial strain, and if it mutates enough, it could cause a more serious disease, I would like to see as many people – including children – vaccinated against the virus.”