Some 30,000 children throughout the country were inoculated against polio on Sunday, the first day that the inoculation effort went nationwide. According to the Health Ministry, most of the Mother and Child clinics (Tipat Halav) throughout the country were open Sunday for administration of the vaccine, and would remain open throughout the day for at least the rest of the week.
A spokesperson for the Ministry said that it has embarked on a major campaign to encourage all children born after 2004 to receive the vaccine. “We hope many more children will come in for their inoculations this week,” the spokesperson said.
Samples taken from the children who came in for the inoculation showed that some 4.4% of the children examined were carrying the germs.
The Ministry decided to embark on the nationwide inoculation program after samples taken from around the country showed that the disease was showing up in more places in the center of the country. The program first began in the south, where it was estimated that as much as 10% of some populations were carrying the disease.
A number of theories have been advanced as to where the strain of “wild” polio was coming from, with many doctors saying that it had probably been brought into Israel by Arabs who had visited Sinai or Egypt, or by illegal African immigrants.