Swine Flu Vaccination for All

PM Netanyahu has ordered the purchase of a swine-flu vaccine for all 7-plus million citizens of Israel. Deputy Health Minister: there is no need.

Tags: Health
Hillel Fendel ,

Swine flu germ
Swine flu germ
Israel News Photo: (courtesy of www.chemicalc

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has ordered the purchase of a swine-flu vaccine for all seven-plus million citizens of Israel. The estimated cost: NIS 450 million.

The vaccination is still in its developmental stage, and is expected to be delivered to Israel in a matter of months.

Netanyahu announced the decision after meeting with Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, who actually objected to it. Litzman, who heads the Ministry (there is no Health Minister) told Army Radio this morning that there is no need for the vaccination. He also said that by the time the vaccination is ready, the winter and its swine-flu dangers will have passed.

Swine flu, also known as the H1N1 virus, has been proliferating throughout Israel at an alarming rate of late; the first Israeli death as a result of the flu was recorded just a few days ago, when Shimon Azran (35) of Eilat died of pneumonia after contracting H1N1. In addition, three people are hospitalized with the illness, including two babies in serious condition.

On Tuesday night, 400 Israeli Scout campers from Ganei Tikva were sent home from their summer experience in Ofer Forest in the Carmel area, near Haifa, after 68 of them reported feeling ill. Only five of them were ultimately diagnosed with swine-flu; none of them required hospitalization.

Over a million Americans have contracted H1N1; 300 have died, or less than 0.03%.

Netanyahu instructed his Bureau Director to coordinate finding funding sources for the vaccination with the Finance Minister and with the Deputy Health Minister. He asked that a proposal be presented at the next Cabinet meeting.

"This decision places Israel in the front line with leading countries in terms of future stocks of vaccinations against the virus," Netanyahu's office stated.

It was also decided to increase the stock of medicines against H1N1 by 5%, even though the current levels are already more than the average European nation has.