Israel Widens Coronavirus Vaccination Drive to Include Age 16+

Israel has instructed the country’s health service providers to extend their coronavirus vaccination drive to all people over the age of 16, beginning Thursday.

The expected change will mean that people age 19 to 35 will officially be eligible to be inoculated. Until now, people in this age group were vaccinated on an ad hoc basis, when there were excess doses available that otherwise would have been wasted.

Israel began its vaccination campaign with people over the age of 60 in late December, and has gradually been broadening eligibility to younger groups. People age 16 to 18 have already become eligible, to facilitate matriculation exams.

The latest push comes after a drop of as much as 50% in the number of vaccinations in the past few days, and widespread reports of empty inoculation stations following weeks of long lines.

To date, some 35% of the country’s 9.3 million people have been vaccinated at least once, with 20% receiving two doses. About 30% of the population is under 16.

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