Ben-Yizri urges public to get flu shots [p. 5]

Health Minister got his vaccination following false scare of tainted flu shots.

Seventy-nine-year-old Health Minister Ya'acov Ben-Yizri found a patient older than him - 95 - at Shaare Zedek Medical Center's emergency room during a visit to assess national hospital overcrowding due to the flu. He asked the man, "What are you doing here?" "I am sick. It hurts all over," the patient said while waiting to be treated. Ben-Yizri, who received his vaccination in a well-publicized event following the deaths of four chronically ill people after being vaccinated (but with no connection to the shot), toured the emergency medicine department of Shaare Zedek and the internal medicine departments at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem. During both visits, the minister said it was not too late to be vaccinated, even though it was better to have done so already and that it took three weeks for the shot to produce enough antibodies against the potentially fatal virus. Getting vaccinated was still the best way to get protected from the virus, Ben-Yizri maintained. At both hospitals, the health minister praised the medical staffs for finding beds for patients with flu complications despite over-occupancy and lack of room in intensive care units. The two hospitals are currently dealing with 150% patient capacity in their internal medicine departments.