Israel includes teens in vaccination drive

Taking a break from study, teenagers in Israel are rolling up their sleeves - as the country expanded its COVID-19 vaccination drive Sunday to include 16- to 18-year-olds.

The government says it's an effort to ensure their attendance at school exams.

Israel, which has the world's fastest vaccine distribution rate, is hoping to begin reopening its economy next month.

Seventeen-year old Noga says she got vaccinated in a bid to return to normal and succeed in her final exams.

The Health Ministry says Israel has given at least one dose to more than 25% of its population of 9 million since December 19.

The vaccines were initially limited to the elderly and other high-risk categories, but are now available to anyone over 40 or - with parental permission - those between 16 and 18.

Israel has been under a third national lockdown since Dec. 27, which it plans to lift at the end of January. But its education minister said it's still too early to know if schools would reopen next month.

Video Transcript

- Taking a break from study, teenagers in Israel are rolling up their sleeves as the country expanded its COVID-19 vaccination drive Sunday to include 16 to 18-year-olds. The government says it's an effort to ensure their attendance at school exams. Israel, which has the world's fastest vaccine distribution rate, is hoping to begin reopening its economy next month.

- [SPEAKING HEBREW]

- 17-year-old Noga says she got vaccinated in a bid to return to normal and succeed in her final exams. The health ministry says Israel has given at least one dose to more than 25% of its population of nine million since December 19. The vaccines were initially limited to the elderly and other high risk categories, but are now available to anyone over 40, or with parental permission, those between 16 and 18.

Israel has been under a third national lockdown since December 27, which it plans to lift at the end of January. But its education minister said it's still too early to know if schools would reopen next month.