A woman giving birth was hospitalized Thursday after contracting the flu, as a particularly aggressive strain of the virus has left four people in Israel dead over the past week, leading to a scramble for vaccinations.
The woman, 26, was sedated and hooked up to a respirator in the intensive care unit at Sheba Medical Center outside Tel Aviv.
The baby, born at 36 weeks, did not have any health complications.
Sheba’s Dr. Yael Haviv-Yadid said the woman was experiencing shortness of breath as she arrived at the hospital and was taken for treatment after birthing.
“We hope she’ll recover,” she told Channel 13 news.
The woman’s hospitalization came as health providers saw a flood of people showing up for flu vaccinations following the four deaths and dozens of others who have recently fallen seriously ill from the virus.
Eleven people in Israel have died since the beginning of the 2019-2020 flu season.
Last winter, 17 people died of the flu.
The country’s three largest health organizations have all reported a jump in the number of people seeking a vaccine. The Clalit Health Services said some 18,000 people were vaccinated just on Wednesday, adding to the 900,000 who have already been jabbed.
Maccabi Health Services reported that daily figures for vaccinations had jumped from around 2,200 to 10,000. Meuhedet said that 6,000 people were vaccinated Wednesday compared to an average of just 1,600 on proceeding days.
Overall vaccination figures for November and December remain lower than previous years, according to the Haaretz daily.
The current situation has all the characteristics usually found at the height of the flu season which usually comes around the end of January, he noted. It was too early, he said, to know if this year the peak came early or if worse was yet to come.
Health Ministry figures showed that so far this year 1.4 million people have been vaccinated, 15.7 percent of the population, compared to 17.2% at the same time last year. Among those aged 65 or higher, 51% have got the vaccine, compared to 55% the year before. Among children aged six months to five years, 13% have been vaccinated compared to 15% for the same period last year, the report said.