Statistics from the Israel Center for Disease Control (ICDC) show that in the past two weeks, there has been a significant rise the number of people turning to health clinics with illnesses and lung infections, Israel Hayom reported.
According to statistics published Monday night, the flu season began two weeks earlier than usual this year, and the percentage of flu-positive samples is higher this year than during the same period last year and has reached epidemic proportions.
The most common strain this year is H1N1 A, also known as "swine flu." Swine flu is included in this year's flu vaccine.
So far, 1.1 million Israelis, or 12% of the population, have received the vaccine. By this point in 2018, 16% of Israelis had received the vaccine, whereas 17% had received it by this point in 2017. However, the vaccine arrived only in November - relatively late in the flu season, which is considered to start in October.
"There are clear signs that flu season has started in Israel and morbidity is on the rise. The average internal medicine and pediatric wards in hospitals are already over 100% full. It is crucial to receive the flu vaccines as soon as possible in order to reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality," the Israeli Medical Association's Association of Public Health Physicians said in a statement to Israel Hayom.
"Vaccinations are the safest way to prevent disease, to 'prepare the cure before the illness,'" Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman (UTJ) said. "They have a decisive contribution to the health of children and the population in general, and I call on the public to continue vaccinating, especially against flu. There are more than enough vaccines to go around."