Flu shot season begins in Israel

It's important, however, for everyone to get vaccinated in order to reduce the chance of the virus getting into the community and to protect those with weak immune systems.

October 18, 2018 16:33
1 minute read.
Health Minister Yakov Litzman  received the annual flu shot by Prof. Itamar Grotto in a school in Te

Health Minister Yakov Litzman received the annual flu shot by Prof. Itamar Grotto in a school in Tel Aviv in October 18, 2018. (photo credit: HEALTH MINISTRY)


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Health Minister Ya'acov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) received his annual flu (influenza) vaccination at a Tel Aviv school on Thursday morning.

Litzman was accompanied by Health Ministry Director Moshe Bar Siman Tov,  both received the shot by Professor Itamar Grotto.

"Vaccination is the cornerstone for preventing dangerous infectious diseases," Litzman said.

"In public health they (vaccinations) make a decisive contribution to the health of children and the general population. As I do every year, I came to get a flu shot this morning."

Each year, 20-30% of children and 5-10% of adults contract the flu, according to the Health Ministry website.

The flu usually manifests in a fever, sore throat, headache, muscle pain, among other symptoms, and could lead to complications such as pneumonia or even death.

The Health Ministry urges Israelis ages six months and older to get vaccinated, particularly pregnant women and those suffering from chronic diseases including obesity, heart problems, diabetes and Down syndrome.

In order to prevent the spread of the flu and to protect those with weak immune systems, it is important for as many people as possible to get vaccinated.

"The vaccines available in Israel today are highly effective and safe," said Bar Siman Tov. "The rates of immunization coverage in Israel are relatively high compared to other countries, but in recent years there have been an increase in parents who chose not to vaccinate their children."

Mistrust in the authorities, fears about vaccine safety and side effects, and the perceptions that vaccines are only partially effective and not necessary for healthy people all contribute to a decrease in vaccinations.

Another factor may be “optimism bias,” the tendency of people to believe that they are at less risk of experiencing a negative event than others. All of us, however, should overcome bias, mistrust in scientific research and optimism and get flu shots.

Flu shots are administered in community clinics of the healthcare providers.  The Ministry recommends to get a flu shot preferably before each winter, from September to November, but shots are available until the end of the influenza season, which is usually March.

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