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Sunday, October 22nd 2006

Israel Suspends Vaccines

After four people die the Israel Health Ministry has suspended the administration of flu vaccines.

The Health Ministry has temporarily halted vaccination of the population against influenza after the deaths of four people – all heart patients – from cardiac causes between one and five days after they received their shots.

[S]o far, “no connection” had been found between the Pasteur Institute vaccine and the tragedy.

It is merely a precaution however,

The ministry is very worried that the tragedies will discourage people at risk for complications of the flu – especially pneumonia – from getting vaccinated when the decision is reversed and adequate supplies of the vaccine become available. Avoidance of vaccination by high-risk individuals – the elderly, children aged six months to two years, and people of any age with chronic disease or weak immune systems – could result in many deaths.

Ministry officials are considering the possibility of organizing a well-photographed event in which Ben-Yizri and other ministry personnel will receive flu shots after the vaccine is found not to have been involved, in order to persuade the public that it is safe.