A week after Israel began administering coronavirus vaccines to children ages 5-11, health providers have been inoculating them at a faster clip than when shots were rolled out for kids between 12 and 15 years old, figures released Monday showed.
At Maccabi Healthcare Services, the percentage of young kids who received a COVID-19 shot in the past week was more than double that for children 12-15 in the week after vaccines were made available to them in June, while at Clalit Health Services, the rate was over four times as high, according to the statistics cited by Channel 12 news.
The Leumit and Meuhedet health maintenance organizations (HMOs) reported figures that were two-and-a-half to nearly four times higher, respectively, than earlier this year.
The figures from Maccabi showed that 8.8 percent of children between 5 and 11 that are insured by the HMO got a shot in the first week they were available, versus 3.3% for kids between 12 and 15.
No percentages were provided for the other three HMOs, which only reported the total number of children in the respective age groups who received a vaccine in the week after the shots were first offered to them.
Overall, 3.3% of kids 5-11 have received a COVID vaccine shot, according to the latest Health Ministry figures. Among children between 12 and 15, 58.6% have received at least one shot and 47.7% have gotten two doses.
As the campaign to vaccine children has taken off, leading officials associated with it have been subject to threats, most notably Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, the head of public health services at the Health Ministry, who has been provided by police with a full-time security detail.
Another leader of the Health Ministry’s campaign to inoculate young kids said Monday that she has been receiving death threats and vitriol, some of which have been sent to her personal phone via the WhatsApp messaging app.
Dr. Lior Hecht, a pediatrician at Maccabi, told Channel 12 that she joined the campaign in order to battle “fake news” and to provide parents with “credible, verified information” about the vaccine.
“There have been explicit threats to murder,” she said, adding that police were investigating the matter.
Hecht said that she has been called a “child killer” and compared to the Nazis, and that her children have also been threatened indirectly.
“Your children will also suffer and you will have blood on your hands and your children’s hands. May your children be vaccinated and die,” she quoted one such message as saying.
Hecht said the Health Ministry offered to provide her with a bodyguard, but she turned down the offer, saying the threat level to her was low.