10 million doses of vaccine from each of Pfizer and Moderna will arrive by 2022.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
Israel has invested another 1.7 billion shekels ($523 million) in deals with two American pharmaceutical companies to purchase an additional 15 million doses of coronavirus vaccine, Channel 12 reported Tuesday.
Pfizer and Moderna have pledged to Israel that they will provide the most advanced versions of the vaccine, which will be effective against the latest virus mutations at the time the vaccines are supplied.
The deal will see Israel receive another 10 million doses of vaccines from Pfizer and another 5 million from Moderna, bringing the total number of vaccine doses purchased from the latter to 10 million.
In all, a total of 20 million more doses are expected to reach the country by the end of 2022. In addition, Israel received an option to purchase an additional 30 million doses from Pfizer and Moderna, the report said.
Sources involved in the details of the agreement postulated that the delay in signing the deal with the two companies was due to the dispute between the Blue and White party headed by Defense Minister Benny Gantz and the Likud party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The sources said the government saved about 2 billion shekels ($615 million) because at the beginning of the talks with the companies, a much larger amount of vaccines was discussed.
Because the future need for additional vaccinations is not yet clear, the purchase agreement includes a clause that allows a flexible option so that Israel is expected to have a regular supply through the end of 2023.
“Soon we will have more than enough vaccines for both adults and children,” Netanyahu said Monday. “Israel will again lead the world in the fight against the coronavirus. There will be no more lockdowns; we have exited this.”
As of Tuesday, the Health Ministry reported that 5.4 million Israelis aged 16 and over have received two doses of the vaccine, with another 372,000 Israelis having received a single shot so far, accounting for 11.2 million doses of vaccine to date. Israel’s total population is 9.3 million and the vaccines are not yet approved for those under age 16.
The mass vaccination program has allowed Israel’s economy to reopen and schools to return to a near-normal schedule. In the past day, only 129 new infections were reported and the number of Israelis currently sick with the virus stands at 2,206 – down from more than 80,000 at the beginning of the year.
Of those sick, only 293 are hospitalized and most hospitals in the country have been able to close their specialized coronavirus wards.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 6,342 Israelis have died from the coronavirus.