February 24, 2024

Doctors recommend everyone over six months gets vaccinated against the flu, especially the elderly, people with chronic illnesses or weak immune systems, pregnant women, and babies. However, only 41% of those aged 65 or older received a free shot from their public health fund, while last year it was 49%. 7,287 hospitalized patients with influenza were confirmed last winter in Israel, and 266 patients died of flu complications, making up 3.6% of all confirmed hospitalized patients. This poses a danger in wartime, as it can burden hospitals and put strain on resources. Early vaccination is vital, as flu viruses change yearly and 80% of deceased individuals were aged 65 or older. The effectiveness of vaccines ranges from 40% to 60% in the general population, and it decreases among those 65 and older. Only 10.4% of the population is vaccinated this winter. Israelis are apparently “tired” of vaccinations due to COVID-19, leading to low awareness of the risks of not being vaccinated. The flu vaccines are free in Israel, and the ministry provides financial aid to insurers to cover vaccinations. There is a current vaccine available that is still protective, but experts worldwide are recommending a new quadrivalent influenza vaccine that protects against four flu strains.