In recent news, Pfizer has decided to stop shipments of its coronavirus vaccine to the State of Israel. This is because the country has failed to approve several payments, which round up to at least 2.5 million doses of the vaccine.
Senior officials at the pharmaceutical company also made an announcement regarding the halting of future shipments of the vaccine. They stated that they are worried about the possibility of the government-in-transition not holding up the previously made deals.
Thus, to protect its interests and not be taken advantage of, Pfizer has decided to temporarily hold back the deliveries of the doses. Officials further added that they were disappointed by such a situation occurring, especially in an organized and developed country.
The US-based company went on to call the State of Israel a ‘banana republic’.
On Sunday, Israel was expected to receive a shipment containing a total of 700,000 doses. However, Pfizer decided to halt the delivery until further notice.
For the first 10 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine that the country received, Israel managed to pay off all of that it owed. When the government’s vaccination campaign began to succeed, additional vaccines were required. At the very start of this year, the country began to run out of doses. Thus, it made a deal with the company to bring in more shipments.
However, the government did not give its approval for the purchase order.
Up until now, the State of Israel has paid a total of NIS 2.6 billion for doses of coronavirus vaccine. This was revealed just last month at a gathering attended by the Knesset Finance Committee.
Generally, the relevant authorities, as well as the government, do not indulge information about the cost of vaccines as per confidentiality agreements previously made with Pfizer and BioNTech. However, it has been understood from the start that the payments made by the country are significantly larger than those made by any other country.
Ever since the government in Israel changed hands, the Health Ministry has been pressurizing it to grant permission for the purchase of additional doses of the vaccine. The latest deal made was for 30 million vaccines, which will cost NIS 3.5 billion.
Even before the holiday of the Passover, the efforts of the Health Ministry bore some fruit and a meeting of the government was scheduled for last Monday. However, the gathering was indefinitely delayed due to an arising conflict between Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister, and Benny Gantz, the Alternate Prime Minister.
Sources revealed that Gantz was the one who called off the meeting because Netanyahu refused to give his approval for the appointment of a justice minister. His term in the position ended on the 2nd of April, after being appointed for only three months. The Alternate Prime Minister had agreed to take up the place after the resignation for the previous justice minister, Avi Nissenkom.
Despite the passing of an entire week, no appointment had been made for the position of the justice minister.