After long delay, flu shot season set to begin

The hold-up of vaccines, caused by delays to influenza A strain selection by the World Health Organization, has affected production timetables for drug manufacturers across the world.

Doctor giving a vaccine to a patient (illustrative) (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Doctor giving a vaccine to a patient (illustrative)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Following lengthy global delays, influenza vaccines have arrived in Israel and healthcare providers are planning to commence seasonal flu shots for eligible population groups beginning next week.
The hold-up of vaccines, caused by delays to influenza A strain selection by the World Health Organization, has affected production timetables for drug manufacturers across the world.
Some healthcare providers could start vaccinations as early as Sunday. Annual flu vaccines commenced last year in mid-October.
Despite the delay, disruption to vaccination schedules can still be expected as vaccines are sent to Israel in a number of batches. Should supplies run out, they will likely be restored within several days.
On Wednesday, the Labor-Gesher Party said it will introduce legislation to set and increase the budget for next year’s health basket, urging the Knesset to prevent the country’s patients from paying a heavy price for their ongoing failure to form a government.
Reflecting the current political paralysis, formal discussions regarding the contents of the state-subsidized health basket for 2020 commenced on Sunday without a defined budget.
Annual additions to the basket – encompassing the entire range of medical services, drugs, equipment and devices that insured, permanent residents of Israel have a right to receive – are limited by a budget allocated by the Finance Ministry. New additions are scheduled to be announced in January 2020.
According to legislation announced by Labor-Gesher, the party will propose the allocation of an additional NIS 750 million to the budget of the Health Basket Committee, headed by Hadassah-University Medical Center director-general Prof. Ze’ev Rotstein. The total value of the 2019 health basket stood at approximately NIS 53.7b.
The legislation will also provide for an automatic annual increase of the health basket budget of at least 1.6% from 2021.
“The current situation has a heavy price for society and everyone has their own opinion regarding their favored identify of the next government,” Labor-Gesher MK Itzik Shmuli told a Knesset plenary session.
“When it comes to the health service, it costs human lives... The political division will likely continue for the next seven to eight weeks but, from Balad to the New Right, surely we can reach agreement on the budget for the health basket.”
Responding to Shmuli’s comments, Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman said that he had committed to increasing the health basket by NIS 700m.
“The Prime Minister and Finance Minister both understood that the health system is different from others, and we need additions,” said Litzman. “I agree with Prof. Rotstein that we have to reduce the price of treatments charged by companies. I disagree, however, regarding the possibility of raising prices paid by patients. We cannot raise prices.”
The discussion regarding the health basket budget will continue in the Finance Committee, chaired by MK Moshe Gafni.


Tags disease