Israel to purchase swine flu vaccine


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s prime minister directed the Health Ministry to order swine flu vaccines for all Israeli citizens.

During a meeting of the Health Ministry task force, Benjamin Netanyahu and Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman also agreed to increase the state’s supply of anti-influenza medicines by an additional 5 percent, which will enable 30 percent of the population to be treated.

Some 700,000 Israelis are expected to contract the H1N1 virus. A vaccine is expected to be available in about two months.

Purchasing the vaccines and the additional medicines will cost an estimated $118 million.

On Monday, the Health Ministry confirmed the first death from complications of the virus. With anxiety rising since the death, the ministry announced that it will run a swine flu hot-line to answer the public’s questions.

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