The Health Ministry ordered a halt of all
flu vaccinations across the country after
three people died on Sunday, days after
being injected with the same flu vaccine.
The Ministry said an investigation has been
The victims, aged 52, 70, and 72, were
vaccinated at a Kiryat Gat health
maintenance organization, where they have
been receiving the same vaccine for three
years. They also suffered unnamed health
A number of doctors in the Ashkelon area
were contacted over the incident and the
vaccine's manufacturer has been notified,
the Health Ministry said.
Dr. Michael Gdalvich of the Health Ministry
arrived at the Kiryat Gat clinic to
investigate the deaths.
Flu vaccines world wide are produced by
two major manufacturers Novartis and Chiron.
The Health Ministry tests all imported
vaccines before being approved for sale in
Health Minister Yacov Ben Yizri said
Sunday evening that "more than 140,000 have
been injected with a flu vaccination in the
State of Israel, and the only place where
this incident happened, in which three
people died, a very rare incident, was in
The minister explained that his office
had launched an inquiry into the matter "and
at the moment we are talking about three
people who suffered from diseases. So far no
connection has been found between this
disaster and the flu vaccinations."
Ben Yizri clarified, however, that until
the issue is "completely clarified" with the
vaccination manufacturers, the flu
vaccinations will not be resumed.
Later, during a press conference, Health
Ministry Director-General Yitzhak Berlovitch
reported of a fourth incident in which a
patient died after being injected with a flu
Every year millions of people get
infected with the disease; however, less
than one percent of them, on average, die
from it. The disease is most devastating on
babies, the elderly, pregnant women and
chronic patients, as well as those with a
weakened immune system such as people who
have cancer or suffer from malnutrition.
Since the flue is a viral disease, there
is no reliable treatment for the disease.
The only recommended treatment is the use of
drugs to alleviate the symptoms of the
disease such as pain and fever medication,
anti cough medicine, combined with rest and
In extreme cases, the disease can be
treated with an anti-viral medication, but
those are seldom used because of their side
affects they cause, their questionable
effectiveness, and their high price.
However, the efforts to develop a cure for
the flue are ongoing, and over the past few
years there has been some progress in that
An influenza expert told Ynet that there
is no debate about deaths caused by the flue
vaccine. There is also a report from 1976 of
a group of patients which suffered from
partial paralysis due to the vaccine.