(Netanya) Israel on Sunday launched a campaign of coronavirus serological tests for children aged three and over to study the antibodies developed by unvaccinated young people on the eve of the start of the school year.
Posted on August 22, 2021
Despite the increase in the number of contaminations in the country linked to the Delta variant, the Israeli government wants to avoid postponing the start of the school year, scheduled for 1is September.
Israel has started the vaccination of children over 12 years old and this campaign of serological tests is aimed at children aged between 3 and 12 years old.
According to the Ministry of Education, these tests will make it possible to study the antibodies developed by these children if they have already been infected.
Children who have developed enough antibodies will thus not be forced to isolate themselves if they are exposed to an infected person, limiting problems in schools.
In a statement on Sunday, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon called on parents to introduce their children to the free 15-minute finger-prick test.
This testing campaign is being carried out jointly by the Ministries of Health and Education and the Israeli army, which has confirmed that the operation has begun.
A pilot program in the ultra-Orthodox community last week revealed that around one in five children had developed antibodies.
At a testing center in the coastal town of Netahya, Zohar was pleasantly surprised to learn that her son had already contracted COVID-19.
“The results showed that my son has antibodies, apparently he was sick,” she said.
“This means that he will get a ‘green passport’ and that he will be able to go to school without risk”, she rejoiced.
However, Zohar’s younger daughter does not have antibodies and therefore will not have a passport.
Last month, the Director General of the Ministry of Education, Yigal Slovik, claimed that school closures last year had caused “social and emotional damage” to students, with “a 44% increase in risk of suicide”.
In total, more than 970,000 contaminations have officially been recorded in Israel, including more than 6,700 deaths. More than 5.4 million people received two doses of the vaccine, or 58% of the population, and some 1.2 million, a third.
The country was one of the first to launch, in mid-December, a vast vaccination campaign which made it possible to drastically reduce infections.
Contaminations have however started to rise again in recent weeks with the spread of the Delta variant in unvaccinated adults, but also in people who received their doses more than six months ago.