Vaccine (illustrative)
Vaccine (illustrative) Israel news photo: Flash 90

Seventeen thousand Israelis have been vaccinated for swine flu, Health Ministry officials announced Monday evening. More vaccines will be given over the next several days as new doses of vaccine arrive from abroad.

So far, the vaccination campaign has been limited to medical personnel and to those between the ages of three and 65 who are vulnerable to flu. The ministry has decided to include dentists on its list of medical personnel who are eligible for the vaccine regardless of age or medical background, officials said Monday.

Those over the age of 65 will begin receiving vaccines over the upcoming several days as well, they said.

Ministry officials also announced that an experimental anti-flu drug had been successfully used to treat a patient. However, the drug remains experimental and will only be used in particularly severe cases, they said. Most flu cases will continue to be treated with Tamiflu.

Post-Vaccine Death Raises Fears

An elderly man suddenly died on Friday, three days after receiving the swine flu vaccine. Health Ministry officials hurried to assure the public that the man's death was apparently caused by serious preexisting conditions, and was not linked to the vaccine.

The death led to concerns that others would decline the vaccine out of fear of an adverse reaction.

Two Die of Swine Flu

Two people have died of swine flu this week, raising the total number of swine flu fatalities in Israel to 41. The latest victim, who passed away on Monday, was a 31-year-old man with no preexisting conditions who was considered to be at low risk for the illness.