Israel has purchased nine million additional doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine that will arrive in 2022, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein announced Monday.
The additional doses are meant to ensure that Israel will be able to provide booster shots in order to extend protection from the coronavirus through 2022.
In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had been holding conversations with the CEOs of Pfizer and Moderna and that he hopes to soon reach a deal with Moderna. "The meaning of this is that very soon we will have more than enough vaccines, for both adults and children," Netanyahu said. "Israel will again be at the forefront of the global fight against the coronavirus. There will be no more lockdowns."
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein meanwhile said in a statement that the agreement with Pfizer had been reached "despite the unnecessary political difficulties." Edelstein added that "Israel is exiting the coronavirus [pandemic] thanks to the vaccines."
The information on Israel's supply of vaccines – both Pfizer and Moderna – is well guarded and not publicly available. The information that is intermittently leaked to the public is not always clear.
Israel has administered some 10.3 million doses of the vaccine thus far, and has fully vaccinated over 5 million Israelis. About two weeks ago, Reuters reported that Pfizer had completed delivery of vaccines to Israel, based on the framework of the deal signed last November.
The government ended the country's outdoor mask mandate on Sunday. The school system also reopened Sunday for all grades.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla recently said it was likely that a third booster shot would be required within a year of the second dose, prompting coronavirus czar Nachman Ash to say last week that Israel does not have enough vaccines to provide its population with a third dose.
Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan party said after the announcement of the purchase on Monday: "As we said all along – there is money to buy vaccines.
"We don't need to increase the deficit on the backs of the citizens of Israel. It has been proven once again that failure to appoint a justice minister derives only from the prime minister's personal legal considerations, while dealing a critical blow to the functioning of the government and to the systems of the law," the party said.