Israel vaccinates 16 to 18-year-olds ahead of exams

Israel has started vaccinating 16 to 18-year-olds against Covid-19, in an effort to enable them to take exams.

More than a quarter of Israel’s population of nine million have received at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine since December 19, its health ministry says.

It started with the elderly and others at high risk, but people aged 40 and over can also now get the jab.

Israel hopes to start reopening its economy in February.

The inclusion of 16 to 18-year-olds – with parental permission – is meant “to enable their return (to school) and the orderly holding of exams,” an education ministry spokeswoman said.

The matriculation exams that Israeli students sit at the end of high school play an important role in deciding where they will go to university. Their results can also affect their placement in the military, where many young Israelis do compulsory service.

The education ministry has said it is too early to say whether schools will reopen.

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