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Israel to reserve 8m doses of Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine

Published on 13/11/20 at 01:18pm

Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein has confirmed the nation’s plans to strike an agreement with Pfizer to secure eight million doses of its promising COVID-19 vaccine candidate, co-developed with BioNTech.

The candidate has generated a wave of excitement around the world since it was reported by the developers that it had shown an efficacy rate of more than 90% in Phase 3 clinical trials.

The pending deal would secure enough courses of the two-dose vaccine to inoculate around just under half of Israel’s population of nine million, with delivery set to begin as soon as January next year. Financial details of the deal have not yet been made public.

“Together with the legal advisers on both sides, we have removed the last obstacle before signing a contract with Pfizer for the supply of vaccines to Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared in a live broadcast following a meeting with his ‘coronavirus cabinet’.

“We will get these vaccines like the leading countries in the world. It will start in January; it will grow from month to month. And we are working, and I am working, to bring vaccines from other sources as well. The more, the better,” he added.

The decision appears to follow conversations between Netanyahu and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, which the Israeli Prime Minister described as “very substantive and very practical.”

Beyond this latest deal, the country is indeed pursuing other options when it comes to delivery of a COVID-19 vaccine, and has so far invested $120 million to secure doses of candidates from Moderna and Arcturus – just under half of its total budget of $295 million earmarked by the state to secure vaccines.

Matt Fellows

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