The influenza virus has hit Israel hard this winter, with several deadly strains killing as many as 11 Israelis so far, and hospitalizing more than 100 in serious condition.
As the flu outbreak spreads, only approximately 150,000 vaccines remain in stock. So far, nearly 1.7 million Israelis were vaccinated this winter.
The Health Ministry released a report on Tuesday showing a decrease of 1.5% in citizens getting flu shots, compared to the same period last year. The ministry ordered a relatively small number of flu vaccines, given the low demand for the vaccine at the beginning of the winter.
However, there have been several serious flu cases, and Israelis scrambled to get the shots. With most of the winter ahead, the vaccines are expected to run out in the coming weeks.
Two teenagers and a man in his fifties have died recently because of severe flu complications. A 36-week pregnant woman is currently hospitalized in critical condition with the flu at Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer. She came to the hospital after suffering from breathing difficulties and was diagnosed with the flu. She gave birth to a healthy baby and her condition is beginning to improve.
An additional 25 people across the country are currently hospitalized in critical condition.
Notably, swine flu (N1H1), which was particularly deadly when it first infected humans in 2009, has returned to Israel recently, making up the majority of flu cases in the country this winter.
In March 2010, the U.N.’s World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the virus had caused at least 16,931 deaths in 213 countries. Several smaller outbreaks have occurred, including outbreaks in Iran, Malta and Morocco in 2019.