Netanyahu Reveals Deal, and Guarantees Sufficient Vaccines by End of March to Fight COVID

From Sunday, Pfizer intends to ship millions of doses and Israel will be the first in the world to get out of the pandemic, says the PM, and will share information with the company, representing ‘a model state, for worldwide strategy.

On Thursday, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister, declared that Israel would become the first government worldwide to vaccinate all its citizens above 16 years of age and it would achieve this by the end of March.

Netanyahu praised ‘a remarkable discovery’ in Pfizer negotiations with Israel, and stated that the pharmaceutical giant had conceded to shipping millions of extra doses to the Jewish government. The first new shipment is expected to arrive on Sunday.

‘I have struck a deal with Pfizer that will allow us to vaccinate all Israeli citizens above 16 years by the end of March; maybe even before this,’ he stated.

‘It means we will inoculate the whole qualifying population and any person who wishes to be vaccinated is included.’

For Pfizer, Israel will serve as a ‘model state’ presenting statistical information of the efficacy of the vaccine,’ said the Prime Minister. According to Netanyahu, the deal was struck after a session of 17 phone calls he had with Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s CEO. Israel shared information about the vaccine’s efficacy; it would help in forming a ‘worldwide strategy’ to fight the pandemic.

He said the status of ‘model state’  was possible, because Israel has been a global leader in successful vaccination initiatives to-date, facilitated by the remarkable healthcare service in the country.

We are able to achieve this due because our health system ranks among the most sophisticated globally, a big benefit to the countries.’

Netanyahu made these remarks hours before Israel began a more stringent lockdown of two weeks starting on Thursday at midnight. It was implemented because new infectious cases have been increasing to 8,000 each day. Israel’s vaccination drive that is superior in the world, has started to decline this week due to insufficient doses.

‘In the coming Passover Eve, in case nothing unexpected happens Israelis can join their extended families in celebrations.’

‘When questioned what makes this night different, we will answer all has changed.’

This year, passover eve is on 27 March.

On 23 March Israel’s fourth elections will take place, after two years.

According to the prime minister, the advanced vaccine drive was referred to as ‘Back to Life.’

Reports indicate that sharing information with Pfizer was a transaction because the firm was ready to sell a significant number of vaccines to Israel first.

YNet news site indicates that Pfizer had been trying to convince Israel to share information about its vaccine endeavors, compiled by HMOs and Health Ministry in the country. Israel had declined until Thursday.

Netanyahu implored all Israelis to adhere to the lockdown regulations. ‘We are about to conquer COVID-19,’ he remarked.

A statement was released soon after Netanyahu’s press conference by the Health Ministry. It proclaimed that it had struck a deal with Pfizer to hasten vaccine shipments that were not expected to reach the country in another month.

‘In immunization rate, Israel is number one in the world. The Pfizer deal with assist us persist in the effective vaccination of any person who is willing. It will enable the country to restore its day to day life immediately,’ indicated the statement.

On Thursday, Yuli Edelstei, the Health Minister said that the state will make an effort to give priority to teachers in its coronavirous vaccination endeavors. It is a total contrast from earlier policy where he was in conflict with municipalities who vaccinated hundreds of school employees.

Edelstei issued a statement indicating that the decision was reached after discussions with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister and Benny Ganz, the Defense Minister. However, no details were forthcoming about how they intend to implement the policy.

Additionally, a health official informed Ynet that he felt doubtful about the declaration and questioned whether it was important right now, as the first batch of vaccines was getting depleted in the country.

In the meantime, the Israel Teachers Union declared that its labor conflict with the state would continue until the vaccination of all the teachers.

The union issued a statement saying that next Tuesday the teachers would strike, if special education teachers failed to get the vaccine in the coming days; all classes are to take place online because of the new lockdown.

In addition, the union insisted that the lockdown, which commences on Friday, be utilized to vaccinate all the remaining teachers.

The government is in no hurry and local municipalities throughout the country started efforts to vaccinate teachers with leftover doses the government issued to them to vaccinate the old and other at-risk individuals.

The municipality of Tel Aviv made its efforts public and indicated that it worked together with Ichilov Hospital within the city. It led to the vaccination of three thousand teachers.

This action upset Edelstein, however. He said that Ichilov and Tel Aviv authorities were capitalizing on the circumstances. On Monday, the health minister issued a directive that supplies of the vaccine to the hospital should cease.

On Thursday, also, the initial batch of vaccines from Moderna, a biotech firm the US, arrived in Israel. It improved the countrywide vaccine initiative in the state.

The shipment consisted of 100,000 doses, indicates Hebrew media reports. Extra doses are anticipated to arrive in the coming week. The Moderna vaccine needs two injections and 1000,000 doses is sufficient to immunize 50,000 individuals.

The vaccination campaign in Israel has hit the ground running, in the midst of the country handling a significant rise in cases, and plans to implement stricter lockdown on Thursday night.

Edelstein stated that on Wednesday 93,000 individuals were vaccinated in Israel as the vaccination level started dwindling. Each day the number of vaccinated people went up to about 150,000.

Official Health Ministry information showed that about 65% of people aged 60 and above have currently been inoculated in Israel. But, there was an approximation that the numbers may actually be almost 70% when smaller localities were considered; here, processing records is carried out manually.

In Israel 1,593,000 individuals have currently been vaccinated. Health officials say in the coming weeks, the country will give priority to the second doses and that sufficient vaccines will be available to give all the people who got the first dose.

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