A somber forecast of swine flu mortality rates was presented for the first time by the Health Ministry in Sunday's Knesset health committee meeting.
Health Ministry Director General Prof. Avi Yisraeli estimated that the expected outbreak of swine flu this winter will claim about 700 lives, most of them young people.
These statistics were presented in the Knesset Health Committee's discussion on acquiring vaccinations against the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu.
Prof. Yisraeli said during the discussion that apparently one quarter of the population in Israel will contract the virus. He also reported that there will be a shortage of 4,500 hospital beds resulting from increased strain on hospitals.
Until now, there have been two deaths in Israel from swine flu. The Ministry of Health confirmed on Sunday that a 24-year-old woman died from swine flu complications in a Nahariya hospital.
About a week ago, 38-year-old Shimon Ezran died from swine flu, making him the swine flu-related death in Israel.
Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the Ministry of Health to procure vaccinations against swine flu for all Israeli citizens at the price of about NIS 450 million (about $118 million). Ministry professionals recommended the move, but noted that it is uncertain whether the vaccination would receive authorization for use by the winter. Additionally, it remains unclear what budget will be used to finance the procurement of the vaccinations.
More than 130,000 people have thus far contracted swine flu worldwide thus far. More than 800 people have died from the virus throughout the world.