Israel Launches Measles Vaccination Program

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The State of Israel Health Ministry announced on October 4, 2018, that people without measles immunization would be banned from visiting some hospital wards around Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh, reported the Times of Israel.  

The health ministry said ‘it will be refusing unvaccinated people access to “sensitive” departments of hospitals, such as intensive care and cancer. 

Measles has made an aggressive return this year in Israel, with over 1,300 cases reported since the beginning of 2018, according to the Israel Health Ministry. 

The measles virus is prevented with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, says the ministry. 

Additionally, the health ministry said in a statement that Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman approved the “intensive measures” that would be introduced in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods. 

In addition, mobile vaccination clinics will be sent to Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods where the measles immunization rate is around 50 percent.

The health ministry said officials were considering further measures to combat the outbreak, including barring unvaccinated people from schools.   

The statement said Rabbi Litzman approved funds for additional staffing to support the vaccination campaign and backed legislation that would increase the ministry’s scope of immunization. 

The measles outbreak in Israel has spread to both London and New York in recent weeks. 

On October 2nd, New York City’s Health Department said 17 children in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Borough Park had recently contracted the measles virus. 

And in the Jewish community in Rockland County, New York, over 40 measles cases have been confirmed.   

In addition, this statement said ‘all schools within the Village of New Square and any school with less than a 70 percent MMR vaccination rate within the geographical area affected by the measles outbreak will be required to keep un- or under-vaccinated students home until 21 days have passed since the last confirmed measles case in Rockland County.’ 


New York’s health department said the initial measles cases reported in New York was acquired by children on a recent visit to Israel.   

In London, England’s Stanford Hill neighborhood, several cases of measles have been reported. The local media said that “several” children in the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood had contracted the measles disease.   

According to Professor Shai Ashkenazi, director of the Israeli Pediatric Society, measles “was on the cusp of extinction, but, because of a decline in vaccination, has made a big comeback.” 

In the USA, as of October 6, 2018, 142 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 25 states and the District of Columbia.     

The majority of people who got measles during 2018 were unvaccinated, says the CDC. 

In the USA, two approved measles vaccines are available, MMR-II and ProQuad.

International travelers can request a vaccine appointment with a pharmacy at Vax-Before-Travel. 

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector vaccine prices for general information. 

MMR vaccine discounts can be found here. 

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.


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