Sunday marks the beginning of “flu season” – the day that HMOs begin administering flu shots to all who want them. According to officials, there is a worldwide shortage of high-dose flu vaccine, designed to protect from several different strains, but those who want a shot should have no trouble getting one – if they come earlier in the season instead of postponing their inoculation.
With that, Health Ministry officials said they were able to round up about a million shots. According to Professor Natan Kellner of Sheba Hospital, the problem has been not with production but with logistics, and that more supplies should arrive later in the season if needed. “The Health Ministry’s system for treatment of the flu is very efficient,” he told Walla News. “Doctors at local HMO offices take blood tests and analyze them, and if early signs of flu are found they immediately order a shot for patients. They also order more shots and administer them to other high-risk people in the community.”
According to officials, vaccinations are the only way to effectively deal with the flu, which is highly contagious. In any given year, as many as 20% of workers call in sick for at least several days after being sidelined by the flu, representing a tremendous drain on the economy.