On Friday, Yuli Edelstein, the Health Minister, and Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister, addressed the nation in anticipation of a possible vaccine. In their speeches, they expressed hope of receiving nearly eight million doses of a vaccine made by Pfizer, given that it is effective.
However, it was later revealed on a website that the contract signed by Israel does not point to any commitment being made by the company to actually supply the vaccines to the country. As per the contract, Pfizer has the intention to deliver on the vaccines but only ‘according to circumstances’.
It was reported that Israel will have to make an advance payment worth NIS 120 million to the company in the next week. The rest of the NIS 680 million will be paid in January, which is when the vaccines are said to arrive in the country.
Each dose of the Pfizer vaccine has been priced at NIS 100. Those who want to get vaccinated will require to have two doses administered. Thus, the total cost per person will amount to NIS 200 or $56.
Late on Thursday, the Office of the Prime Minister and the Health Ministry announced that they had made a deal with Pfizer. As per the deal, the company has agreed to supply enough doses of the vaccine that will be needed to vaccinate around four million citizens. An interim analysis of the vaccine was carried out, which revealed that it is at least 90% effective against coronavirus.
The next day, an announcement was made by the Health Ministry. According to them, an agreement had been signed at 4 in the evening, in Israel. Chezy Levy, the director-general, along with the accountant of the ministry themselves represented Israel to sign for the vaccine. Janine Small, the vice president of Pfizer, was representing the company.
The CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, also addressed the public soon after signing. He stated that due to the significant milestone reached by the company in the development of the vaccine, the world is now daring to hope that they will soon be free of the novel coronavirus.
He went on to say that they have entered into a supply agreement with the government of Israel, which will allow the citizens of the country to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. However, the Pfizer vaccine has yet to be approved for administration by the relevant authorities.
This celebratory briefing by Edelstein and Netanyahu took place only several hours after the Health Ministry had warned about the rising morbidity rates. On Thursday, 817 people had tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, which were 2.1% of the total people screened.
On Friday, the reproduction rate (R) had risen to one. The general society showed an average of 0.94, whereas an R of 0.92 was observed in the ultra-orthodox community. On the other hand, the Arab community had the highest reproduction rate of 1.07.
As of now, the government is trying to figure out how to contain the virus. There is a possibility of night closures and raising of fines.