By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
British Medical Journal
Apparently due to the warm weather, only 500,000 Israelis have so far gone for free vaccinations against influenza, compared to 900,000 at the same time last year, the Health Ministry said on Sunday. The ministry invited health reporters to a “photo opportunity” during which director-general Dr. Ronni Gamzu bared his arm and got his flu shot. Ministry officials are “very concerned” by this failure to get vaccinated, which is recommended to everyone over the age of six months.
The killed-virus vaccine can save lives, and complications of the flu among people with chronic illness and weak immune systems and pregnant women can be fatal, and healthy people — especially children — easily spread the infection.
Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman did not get vaccinated at the same time as his director-general.
Last year, there were two vaccinations, one for regular flu and one for H1N1 (swine) flu virus. This year’s vaccine offers protection against the ordinary strains and the H1N1 virus.