Healthcare providers Clalit and Maccabi Health Services are in the midst of feverish preparations for a flu vaccination campaign that is expected to begin this September, the earliest date possible.
The organizations fear having to contend with high rates of both the seasonal flu and coronavirus while the number of vaccinations readily available to the general public is expected to be lower than in previous years due to constraints on their production related to the global pandemic.
Clalit has extended work hours at clinics offering vaccinations while reducing physical contact between those coming to get vaccinated and the rest of the patients as much as possible.
One way to reduce contact is to establish drive-in complexes for influenza vaccines, similar to the drive-in complexes used for coronavirus testing – which have proven very successful.
Healthcare providers are currently devising a work program for the new inoculation stations and have yet to be submitted to the Health Ministry.
According to the proposed outline, those who wish to get vaccinated and can arrive by car will be invited to one of these complexes. Once there, they will receive the shot outside their vehicle and will remain under supervision for at least 15 minutes.
Until the approval of the drive-in outline, a series of other steps have already been approved by both Clalit and Maccabi.
In light of the expected worldwide shortage of flu vaccines, at-risk populations - such as elders and people with underlying health conditions - and medical teams will receive the shots first.
In the clinics themselves, everyone who wishes to get inoculated will be given an invitation to a specific time and will stand in a separate queue.
In some clinics, those wishing to get vaccinated will have a separate entrance to avoid contact with the rest of the patients as much as possible, while vaccinations will be administered in rooms far away from the general populace.
Due to the global shortage in flu shots, healthcare providers have been given half of the number of vaccines ordered. Clalit Health Services reported having ordered two million vaccines, double the amount ordered last year.
Maccabi Health Services has ordered 1.2 million vaccines, but so far only 600,000 have been approved.