Cancelled Government Meeting Prevents Approval for NIS 3.5 Billion to Acquire Vaccines2 min read
On Sunday night, the Likud warned that the State of Israel is at risk of losing multiple contracts that it made to acquire additional vaccines. This happened right after the government canceled a meeting, which was supposed to take place on Monday, to approve a budget of NIS 3.5 billion for Pfizer coronavirus vaccines.
Likud released a statement accusing the Alternate Prime Minister of Israel, Benny Gantz, of trying to stop the signing of contracts so that the country can buy millions of more doses of the vaccine. The political party believes that Gantz is only doing this for appointments and jobs and is, therefore, preventing the next round of vaccinations of the citizens.
It warned that if the government does not give approval for the contracts that were previously obtained by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister, the companies manufacturing the vaccines will cancel the contracts. Thus, the doses will be transferred to other countries. The party said that Gantz is being irresponsible and endangering the lives of the citizens of Israel in the process.
Likud called out Gantz while answering a statement of the Blue and White. It speculated that the meeting of the government had been canceled because Netanyahu was refusing to appoint a justice minister permanently.
Currently, Gantz is acting as the Justice Minister and his term is scheduled to end on the 5th of April. This date is going to round up his term to only three months after the resignation of Avi Nissekom, following which the Alternate Prime Minister took the position.
In the meeting, the government was predicted to talk about purchasing additional Pfizer coronavirus vaccines worth NIS 3.5 billion. They were also supposed to discuss the approval for a budget of the same amount for the health system in the country.
Up until now, the State of Israel has spent a total of NIS 2.6 billion on doses of the coronavirus vaccine. This was revealed in the early days of March at a gathering of the Knesset Finance Committee, which was chaired by MK Moshe Gafni of United Torah Judaism.
The country has made purchases of around 15 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine so far. This means that it has paid almost NIS 173 for each dose, which is a lot more than what other countries pay for it.
On the other hand, if Israel had been paying the same price for the vaccines purchased, then a budget of NIS 3.5 billion would have led to the purchase of over 20 million doses.
The Health Ministry further informed that it is unable to give further details regarding the discussion of vaccines, or their purchase.
However, Yuli Edelstein, the Health Minister, did reveal on Facebook on Sunday night that a delay in the approval is likely to result in a cancellation of the contracts. Thus, the State of Israel will be unable to buy any more vaccines to battle the coronavirus with ease.