16 to 18-year-old Israelis — with parental permission — have started receiving Pfizer vaccinations for the coronavirus in preparation for their matriculation exams. An education ministry spokeswoman said that it is “to enable their return (to school) and the orderly holding of exams,” as they are essential for students in their final year in high school. The admission exams are also a key in military placement in Israel, which is mandatory in the country. The education ministry, however, has mentioned that it is too soon to decide if schools are safe to reopen next month.

Israel has the fastest vaccination drive in the world, having already vaccinated 10% of its population by the end of 2020. It started providing shots on December 19 last year and currently has a quarter of its total population vaccinated. The country prioritized high-risk individuals and the elderly in giving the vaccine, but people over the age of 40 can get the shots as well. Israel aims to restore its economy in February. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Other than rare exceptions, we are closing the sky hermetically to prevent the entry of the virus variants and also to ensure that we progress quickly with our vaccination campaign.”