Additional Updates:

  • Most of the Health Ministry’s Tipat Halav mother and infant care centers will be open tomorrow (Friday 21-Jun-13) between 8:00-12:00 for polio vaccines. (Spokesman Press Releases (Hebrew), 20.06.2013 20:00)

Further to the monitoring of polio in the sewerage system, the Ministry of Health has intensified tests in the South. As a result, additional residues of the virus have also been discovered in the sewerage systems of Arara, Tel Sheva and in the Shoket wastewater treatment plant.
It is emphasized that the tests performed thus far revealed virus residues in Ashdod (as the northernmost point).
This is a situation that requires alertness and necessitates special organization. The Ministry of Health is holding continual consultations with the World Health Organization as well as with the American CDC.
Also, a broad consultation meeting was held today, with the participation of professionals from the Ministry of Health, representatives of the Committee for Handling Epidemics, representatives of the Advisory Committee on Infective Diseases and Vaccines and representatives of the Polio Monitoring Committee in Israel. 
Among other things, the question of immunization policy, and adaptation to the situation that has evolved, was considered.
Following consultations thus far, the Ministry of Health has decided to act in the following manner:
  1. Locating and completing vaccinations for all children not immunized against polio up to the age of 6, throughout Israel, with a special emphasis on the Southern region. In order to achieve this, Tipat Halav mother and infant care centers will actively invite children who are not fully immunized as per the immunization program for their age. Parents’ alertness, to check their children’s immunization booklets and to present to Tipat Halav to complete vaccinations, is important. 

  2. The Ministry of Health will commence a publicity campaign in the next few days, using appropriate media channels, to increase awareness of the importance of good hygiene; washing hands after visiting the toilet, after changing nappies and before contact with food. 

  3. In the coming days, further samples will be taken and a wider scope of data will be collected. A further assessment of risks will also be performed. In accordance with the overall accumulated data, further consultations will be held with the World Health Organization and with the CDC, in order to decide upon the appropriate policy for the unique characteristics of Israel as a country with a high immunization coverage of 95% against polio.