In a discussion held today, led by the Minister of Health and in which took part the Ministry’s professionals, the polio committee, representative of the epidemic team, laboratories representatives, physicians from various fields and the from the academy, the complex situation of the ongoing presence of the polio virus in Israel’s sewage system was discussed.
In the meeting, it was decided that the Ministry of Health will expand the vaccination campaign to the entire country, and will prepare to open the Infant Welfare Centers for the vaccinations starting on the week beginning on August 18, during regular opening hours, and will call on parents to bring their children to be immunized. Samplings in the sewage from the past week indicate the presence of the virus in additional tests performed in sewage purification facilities in Lod and Ramla. Sampling results from other places of residence where polio viruses were detected are expected to come in over the upcoming days. In the rest of the sewage purification centers from the central and northern parts of the country, the polio virus was not detected.
About 80% of the fecal tests have been completed, and 28 carriers were detected, among which 26 children immunized appropriately for their age up to the age of 10, a young infant aged two months, and an elderly person approximately 70 years old. All the carriers reside in the south. Their families were informed. In the framework of the “Two Drops” campaign that started in the south, about 20,000 children were immunized to date (in four and a half days of immunization), which constitute about 20% of the target population for vaccination in the area (100,000 children). The Ministry’s Director General intends to hasten then vaccination rate in the south and reach 50% of the target population over the next week. (Please find attached a report with vaccination date in the south distributed by places of residence). The complex situation according to which a section of the population born after 2005 which is not immunized against being a polio carrier, might constitute a challenge for the virus’ spread, and in light of the ongoing presence in the repeated tests in the Ramla Lod area and in other sewage purification facilities, brought the professionals to the decision to administer a complementary vaccine by drops (OPV) for Israeli children born after 1.1.2004 all around the country. The Ministry of Health is preparing to open the Infant Welfare Centers all around the country for the vaccinations starting on the week beginning on August 18, during regular opening hours, and will invite parents to bring their children to be immunized.