Israel is working hard to secure enough coronavirus vaccine for every one of the nation’s citizens.
As part of his efforts to cast a wider net, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he personally spoke to Russian President Vladmir Putin regarding the possibility of purchasing doses of its Sputnik-V vaccine.
Netanyahu told reporters that he and Putin will further discuss the matter “in the coming days.”
Israel was early to sign with Moderna Inc. for its potential vaccine, reaching an agreement in June. The Massachusetts-based American biotechnology company announced that its vaccine has a 95% efficacy rate.
Another deal was clinched with American multinational pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer Inc. last week. The New York City-headquartered firm said its candidate is more than 90% effective.
Israel is also developing its own vaccine called BriLife that, if successful, could be market-ready by the end of the summer. The Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) in Ness Ziona, which is overseen by the Defense Ministry, began human trials at the start of this month.
“My goal is to bring as many vaccines from as many sources to as many citizens, as quickly as possible,” Netanyahu said.
The country is still in the process of exiting a second, nationwide lockdown aimed at curbing spread of the pandemic. 2,735 Israelis have died from the disease. 280 new patients were diagnosed with COVID-19 over the past 24 hours to a current total of 8,030 active cases, with 313 people in critical condition.