Hospitals May Ban Visitors Without Measles Vaccination

(Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Visitors to Israeli hospitals may have to begin bringing along proof that they got their “shots” – specifically, vaccinations against measles. With the sharp increase in cases of measles – so far this year, some 1,300 people have been diagnosed with the disease – Health Ministry officials are considering banning individuals who have not been inoculated from areas of hospitals where more vulnerable patients are hospitalized. That could include intensive care units, oncology, hematology and obstetrics departments of hospitals.

The proposal was made in an emergency meeting of Ministry staff, which is seeking new ways to prevent the continued spread of measles. Another proposal involves sending home children who have not been inoculated  – essentially suspending them until their parents get them inoculated. In addition, officials are discussing the possibility of lowering the age of when infants can be given a shot – from the current 12 months to nine months.

Since the beginning of 2018, 1,334 individuals have been diagnosed with measles, with a one-and-a-half-year-old infant dying from a serious infection – the first fatality caused by measles in 15 years. Sixty percent of those diagnosed with the disease are in Yerushalayim, Ministry figures indicate, and a campaign to convince people in the city to get inoculated will be expanded. So far, the campaign has been successful; in some areas where many people had not been inoculated just a few months ago, currently more than 80 percent have received the vaccination, the Ministry said.