“We have made a win-win deal,” said Prime Minister Bennett.
By Josh Plank, World Israel News
Israel has agreed to transfer 700,000 soon-to-expire doses of the coronavirus vaccine to South Korea under the terms of a deal announced by the government early Tuesday morning.
According to the mutual supply agreement, Israel will immediately transfer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses to South Korea for distribution to its citizens by the end of July.
In exchange, South Korea has agreed to return 700,000 doses to Israel from a future order in September or October 2021.
“We have made a win-win deal: South Korea will receive vaccines from our existing stocks and we will receive vaccines from their future shipment,” said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
“Thus, we are plugging the holes and we will ensure that the State of Israel has a proper stock of vaccines,” he said.
The agreement was made with the knowledge of Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, with whom Bennett is said to be in “continual telephone contact.”
Bennett has also spoken with Bourla about other “possible deals for exchanging vaccines between Israel and various countries,” according to a government statement.
In addition, the two discussed strategies for dealing with existing and future variants and the possibility for supplying Israel with additional vaccines.
Channel 12 reported last week that Pfizer had rejected Israel’s request to extend the expiration date of the over 1 million doses that are due to expire on July 30.
The new agreement with South Korea comes after a similar agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) fell through in June.
Under the terms of that agreement, Israel was to transfer 1 million doses to the PA in exchange for an identical number in return in September or October. The PA, however, backed out of the deal and returned the doses after the first shipment, saying that they were too close to the expiration date.
Israel insisted that it had upheld its end of the agreement, saying that the expiration dates were “known to them, agreed upon by them, and in accordance with the agreement between the parties.”
In April, Israel signed a deal for the acquisition of millions of additional vaccine doses from Pfizer to supply the country through the end of 2022.