Litzman asks Netanyahu to consider funding a flu vaccine factory

In response to the recent flu vaccine shortage, Health Minister Ya'acov Litzman suggested founding a local factory to allow Israel to manufacture its vaccines

Ya'acov Litzman (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Ya'acov Litzman
Health Minister Ya'acov Litzman addressed the flu vaccine shortage in a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In the letter he said that it is a unique type of vaccine, different from other common types by virtue of the fact it has to be changed every year in order to accommodate that year’s predominant strain. This means that it has to be ordered over and over again, and as with every vaccine, only a few companies manufacture it.  
After 2009’s flu outbreak, many countries decided to create their own factories to manufacture vaccines, and given that market there are only a handful of manufacturers for each kind vaccine, it is difficult to produce enough when there are bigger outbreaks.
According to Litzman, establishing such a factory will allow Israel to better prepare for a larger population, without having to rely on international pharmaceutical companies, which may or may not be able to provide for Israel’s needs.
LItzman said in his letter to the prime minister, “Establishing a factory will also provide valuable knowledge as well employment, which are necessary for Israel. It is also possible to place it in the periphery. This will also allow Israel to assist other countries should they face an emergency, thus strengthen its diplomatic relations.”
It will take a few years to build the factory, even with government support.