TEL AVIV—Israel will begin vaccinating high-school students to target a demographic suspected of accelerating the country’s Covid-19 outbreak.
With the capacity to handle about 200,000 people a day, the country’s health authorities are able to vaccinate Israel’s approximately 300,000 16- to 18-year-olds in short order, but the challenge will be to ensure everyone shows up for a shot. Israel has approved the vaccine for anyone over 16. It won’t inoculate anyone under that age.
Ministry of Health data show that Israel’s younger population is far more likely to test positive for the coronavirus, with 10- to 19-year-olds making up 21% of known infections. The 20- to 29-year-old age group accounts for 19% of known infections.
“They are the megaspreaders,” Ido Hadari, director of government relations at Israel’s Maccabi Healthcare Services said of high-school students. “If we vaccinate these guys they will stop being spreaders.”
Israel is leading the world’s fastest vaccination campaign, so far administering the first dose of the Pfizer Inc. vaccine to almost 30% of its population since starting in late December. Israel has also received some shipments of the Moderna Inc. vaccine, but so far is mainly relying on Pfizer.