With the High Holy Days over, the weather turns cooler – time to get a free
influenza shot at your health fund clinic.
The Health Ministry said on
Tuesday that this year – on the basis of an analysis of cases in the Far East
where flu strikes first – two more strains have been added to this year’s
vaccinations that did not exist last year. The ministry added that there is some
likelihood that the number of people with flu will increase this
Respiratory infections – most of them viral but some of them
bacterial – are common in the winter. Any age can be affected, but the elderly,
people with chronic illnesses and weak immune systems, and babies are at most
risk. Pregnant women should also be vaccinated.
Since younger children
and adults can infect those at risk of complications, it is recommended that
everyone go for the shot, which is provided by the health insurer at no
cost. Doctors, nurses and other hospital personnel should also be
vaccinated so they do not infect patients, as should patients who live in
institutions. Vital personnel in workplaces should also get the
The vaccination, recommended from age six months, does not prevent
all flu infections as they are less effective in the elderly – but if it does
not eliminate a certain infection, it does make the case significantly
The four public health funds are already prepared to provide the
shots, as they ordered large numbers of doses from suppliers.
As it takes
a few weeks for antibodies to develop and to protect the body, it is recommended
not waiting until the flu season is in full force in November through
The new flu strains include one from group A and another from
group B. The new formulation is A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like;
A/victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like; and B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like (Yamagata
The killed or attenuated viruses in the vaccine cannot cause
the flu. Reactions and side effects are very rare, the ministry said. Anyone who
previously received the flu vaccine must get it again, as the shot must be taken
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