The Health Ministry spent NIS 2 million on TV, radio and Internet public-service
advertisements that unintentionally misled the public into thinking that people
over 64 no longer need to get vaccinated against the flu, The Jerusalem Post has
The vaccine is free to all Israelis through their health funds
and given in the fall and winter to all those who request it.
was made in the advertisements of older people – who are the main population
group liable to develop serious complications from influenza and who originally
were the major target of flu shots, as the elderly suffer from the highest death
rates from such complications.
The publicity campaign, which just ended
and included 60 advertisements broadcast on TV alone, stated that the vaccine
should be given to babies and young children and adults up to the age of
The campaign – produced by ministry deputy director- general Yair
Amikam, who heads the information and international relations department – was
unusual for the ministry, as its annual budget for public service ads is very
Asked whether the just-ended publicity campaign for flu
vaccination constituted a change in policy that previously recommended the shot
especially for the elderly plus every Israeli over the age of six months, Amikam
replied: “The campaign on flu was prepared on the basis of surveys that we
conducted showing who was problematic in going for vaccination against the flu.
There is no change in policy that all residents have to be vaccinated,” the
deputy director-general said.
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