Israel's Bennett, Pfizer CEO Discuss Swapping Expiring COVID Vaccines With Other Countries

Israeli prime minister has held several talks with Albert Bourla in the past few days, his office says, amid talks to offload expiring vaccine doses

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A medical worker administers a coronavirus vaccine in Givatayim, last month.
A medical worker administers a coronavirus vaccine in Givatayim, last month.Credit: Daniel Bar-On

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held several calls with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla over the past few days, discussing possible deals to exchange expiring doses of the company's coronavirus vaccine with other countries and options for future shipments of the vaccine to Israel, the Prime Minister's Office said Sunday. 

Israel is negotiating with at least two countries to offload expiring COVID-19 vaccines, after a deal with the Palestinian Authority collapsed. The negotiations are being led by the Health Ministry, Foreign Ministry, and National Security Council.

The director-general of the Health Ministry, Chezy Levy, said in an interview with Radio 103 FM that the doses expire on July 31 and that any deal would have to win Pfizer's approval. He confirmed that such a deal had been discussed with Britain last week, but said an agreement had not materialized and was "a thing of the past".

A government source said on Friday that negotiations with the United Kingdom about a potential deal to exchange jabs broke down over technicalities, despite a desire from both sides to reach an agreement.

However, the source maintained that it is possible to reach an agreement with another country.

Sources in Israel have not ruled out the possibility that the Palestinian Authority will return to their previous agreement in the end.

In June, Israel announced that it would provide an advance of 1 million vaccines to the Palestinian Authority, but the deal was nixed by Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh because many of the doses were set to expire.

The Palestinians said the doses, which Israel began shipping to the West Bank, are too close to expiring and do not meet their standards. In announcing the agreement, Israel had said the vaccines “will expire soon” without specifying the date.

Reuters contributed to this article. 

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