Additional vaccines for babies and schoolchildren will be introduced gradually by the Health Ministry, but not enough to satisfy the Israel Pediatric Association (IPA). Parents should ensure that their children receive other vaccinations, even if they have to pay for them, the IPA recommended Wednesday.
The ministry said the number of vaccines given at Tipat Halav (well-baby) centers and in elementary schools would expand between 2008 and 2011.
Chicken pox and whooping cough vaccines will be offered in eighth grade starting in 2008. Pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine will be added in 2009. Rotavirus vaccine will be offered from 2010.
Papilloma vaccine, which prevents cervical cancer, will be offered to young girls and boys (who eventually could infect the girls if they are not vaccinated) in 2011.
The Health Ministry recently approved the use in Israel of Rotarix, the oral vaccine against rotavirus, which is given to babies aged six weeks to six months.
The risk of rotavirus infection is highest at ages six months to two years. Rotavirus infection causes diarrhea and vomiting and can lead to severe dehydration and even death if suitable treatment is not provided.
Studies in six Israeli hospitals showed that rotavirus, which is very infectious, is responsible for more than 3,816 hospitalizations a year. The virus is the main cause of diarrhea in children aged three to five.
The vaccine has been shown to prevent 90 percent of infections.
Until 2010, parents who want it for their children will have to buy the vaccine in pharmacies.
The IPA also recommended flu vaccine for children aged six months to 13. But the ministry said this vaccine schedule is not implemented in any country in the world, although it is being discussed in the US.
The ministry said it would wait for other developed countries to take a decision on flu vaccine for children and then discuss it.
The IPA also recommended giving meningococcus vaccine to high-risk groups.
The vaccine is recommended in the US, but has not yet been registered for sale in Israel, the ministry said.