Israel has secured another agreement to acquire millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccinations from Pfizer, following major efforts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein.
According to a statement TV7 obtained from the Prime Minister’s Media Advisor, the supplements “will ensure the continuation of Israel’s ability to deal with the coronavirus in an optimal manner at least until the end of 2022.”
The new vaccinations will be suitable to protect people against different variants of the coronavirus, said Prime Minister Netanyahu, adding that he is working to sign a similar deal to purchase vaccines from Moderna Inc.
“This means that soon we will have more than enough vaccines for both adults and children. Israel will again lead the world in the fight against the coronavirus. There will be no more lockdowns; we have exited this,” he pledged.
Health Minister Edelstein said he is “pleased that despite the political difficulties, we have reached an agreement with Pfizer.”
“Israel will continue to lead the fight against the coronavirus in the future as well,” said Minister Edelstein. He went on to “thank the citizens of Israel for the impressive response to the vaccination campaign, and call on those who have yet to be vaccinated to do so promptly.”
Over 81% of Israelis and residents over the eligible age of 16 have received both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, resulting in an impressive drop in infection and hospitalization levels.
In related developments, Israel has helped to facilitate delivery of 72,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to the Palestinians.
According to a statement TV7 received from a Defense Ministry official, the doses were donated on behalf of the World Health Organization as part of the COVAX initiative.
The shipment arrived at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport on Saturday. Around 43,200 were transferred through the Betunia Crossing to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank while 28,800 were sent to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip through Israel’s Kerem Shalom Crossing.
Israel previously immunized about 105,000 West Bank Palestinians who are authorized to enter the country each day for work, and donated vaccines to the Palestinian Authority.
The delivery comes as health officials in the West Bank and Gaza struggle to implement their own vaccination drives, with only 3.44% of Palestinians estimated to have been inoculated so far.
Israel has rejected responsibility for vaccinating the Palestinians, in accordance with bilateral agreements that the Palestinian Authority must ensure the health care for its residents in the West Bank and Gaza.