Go get those flu shots, ministry says

By
December 20, 2010 03:55

Health Ministry urges everyone from the age of six months and up to go to their health fund clinic for a free influenza vaccination.

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Go get those flu shots, ministry says

flu shot 88. (photo credit: )

Whether out of fear of needles, laziness or the mistaken belief that it won’t protect them, almost 90 percent of Israelis have so far failed to get their flu shots this year.

The Health Ministry urges everyone from the age of six months and up – but especially babies and children up to six, pregnant women, new mothers, people with chronic illness and anyone over the age of 50 – to go to their health fund clinic for a free influenza vaccination.

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Anyone who is not in these categories but who would be hard to replace at work should get vaccinated as well.

The ministry noted that only about half of people over 65 have been vaccinated and that complications of the flu can and do kill.

Most recently, a healthy 33- year-old man died of H1N1 (swine flu) virus, and a 35- year-old young man is currently hospitalized in the intensive care unit of Rambam Medical Center in Haifa after coming down with the flu. There was also an outbreak of H1N1 flu among dozens of unvaccinated soldiers in a single IDF course.

Like Israel, Britain also reported an increase in the number of cases in recent weeks, and the government there said there were 10 deaths. Three unvaccinated pregnant women died of flu complications in Northern Ireland and Wales.

The ministry noted that the H1N1 strain, which aroused so much concern last year, is included in this year’s vaccine.

Every year, as the flu virus mutates, a different vaccine is prepared, and a shot last year does not protect people against this year’s strains.

The virus in the vaccine is killed, thus it can’t cause the flu in those who are vaccinated.

One of the most common sources of flu infection is unvaccinated young children in day care and kindergarten, who in turn infect their parents and grandparents.


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