Rapid spread of coronavirus among children is worrying Israeli health officials.
Image Credit: Jack Guez / AFP
Israel is the leading country in the World in COVID-19 vaccinations, as more than 20% of the population have been vaccinated. Israel aims to vaccinate everyone by the end of March. Regardless of the current lock-down restrictions and effective vaccination programme, the daily virus caseload remains high. Health officials are now worried with the recent surge in cases among children.
Unfortunately, as schools were being prepared to open, the spread of the virus among children has raised concern among health officials, as they were not planning in vaccinating them in the near future. It was believed that children would not affect the spread of the virus, but this changed, as the British mutation of the virus is infecting more and more children in Israel. The British strain is believed to be far more infectious, and may cause around 30% increase in mortality.
The British strain is also causing serious illness in pregnant women. Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis said,
40% of illness is in children, a higher percentage than their part in the population… We see a rise in infections in ages 6-9, which is exactly the age group that is supposed to go back to school.Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis
Education Minister Yoav Gallant said that considering the high number of new cases among children, the reopening of schools and kindergardens will now not proceed as planned.
The mutations have changed the rules of the game. I do not want to take on anything related to childhood illness.Education Minister Yoav Gallant.
The British variant of the virus accounts for around half of the recent cases. Health officials also found 27 cases of the South African strain and four cases of the California mutation. They fear the new mutations might be resistant to vaccines, but Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of public health at the Health Ministry said that the vaccine works against the British strain, but the ‘virus infection rate is much faster than the vaccination rate’.