The Israel Health Ministry has begun preparations to vaccinate adolescents aged 12 to 15 after news this week that the US Food and Drug Administration has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children of this age group.

Health Ministry Director-General, Chezy Levy is holding meetings with representatives of Israel’s health management organizations, pediatric doctor associations and other relevant bodies in preparation for the expansion of the inoculation drive, the ministry announced in a statement.

It is also holding talks with Israel’s HMOs, who administer the bulk of vaccine shots, to ready the new campaign drive.

The move comes after the FDA declared on Monday that the Pfizer vaccine is safe for younger teens, and offers strong protection.

Pfizer tested the vaccine in the United States on more than 2,000 volunteers aged 12 to 15.

The study found there were no cases of Covid-19 among fully vaccinated teens, compared to 18 among kids given a placebo. Researchers also discovered that the kids developed higher levels of virus-fighting antibodies than earlier studies of young adults.

The children in the study received the same dosage of vaccine as adults and suffered the same mild side effects, including painful arms, fever, chills and aches.

Israel has so far inoculated nearly 5,084,000 Israelis age 16 and up with both doses of the vaccine, and around 5,425,000 have had the first shot. This is more than half of Israel’s total population.

All vaccinations in Israel are the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, and the country has purchased millions of vaccines ready to inoculate the nation’s children, and for booster shots as required.

On Tuesday, the Health Ministry announced that just 53 new Covid cases were detected on Monday, and the total number of active patients was 974.