Israel is expected to receive its final shipments of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine in the coming two weeks.
The government and the pharmaceutical giant had signed a deal for ten million doses – enough to fully inoculate about five million Israelis – and these last 1.5 million doses will complete it.
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According to sources in the health maintenance organizations, the timetable for the shipments is not likely to affect the timing of the vaccination campaign or appointments.
Health care officials said that around 500,000 doses from the new shipments will be used to give second doses to people who have already received their first shot. Normally, the HMOs reserve second doses for everyone who has already gotten the first, but due to a recent temporary shortage of vaccines, some of those reserves were used to provide additional first doses, with the knowledge that new shipments would be arriving soon.
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To date, Israel has administered around 7.5 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Though the new shipments should provide enough vaccines to meet Israel’s target of vaccinating five million people – which the government hopes to reach by April – doing so also depends on people’s willingness to get inoculated. As of Sunday morning, over 4.3 million Israelis have received the first Pfizer shot; of those, over 2.9 million have received the second dose.
In March, Israel is expected to receive hundreds of thousands of doses of the Moderna vaccine. Israel has purchased six million doses from the company, enough to inoculate three million people.
Health care sources speculate that some of the doses may be given to Palestinians working in Israel and people who have recovered from the coronavirus – both groups that as of yet are not eligible to be vaccinated.
Israel also might sign another vaccine deal with Pfizer this year, this time to vaccinate children under age 16. The company is now conducting clinical trials for children aged 12 through 16, and the results will likely be published in the coming months.