While countries around the world are struggling to get vaccines against corona, it is precisely in Israel that there are so many doses, in a way that allows it to wait with the use of vaccines it has received from a modern company, according to an article in the Bloomberg news agency. The headline of the article by Ivan Levingston is: “Israel is sitting on Modern’s vaccines after signing the information agreement with Pfizer.”
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In addition, the State of Israel is criticized for not vaccinating the millions of Palestinians under its control.
It was also written in Bloomberg that the rate of vaccinations per capita in Israel is the highest in the world, but still the supply is higher than the demand. Israel has contracts for millions of doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and Biontech in exchange for transmitting information about the vaccinated. In the meantime, however, there is less willingness to get vaccinated among those aged 50 and under, and the rate of vaccination has slowed. Yet 40% of the 9.3 million residents have already received a first dose of Pfizer vaccine.
Thanks to the regular deliveries from Pfizer, the only shipment that arrived from Moderna and amounted to around 100,000 doses remained in storage, according to Eli Gilad, a senior official in the Ministry of Health and the Corona Fighting Department, quoted in the article. Pfizer dishes, Gilad explained.
According to him, the supply from Moderna – which arrived in Israel in January and can be stored under special conditions for six months – will eventually come into use, and there is no change in the expected shipments. Avi Levin, director of the Clalit Health Fund’s vaccination complex in Tel Aviv, told Bloomberg that no guidelines had been published regarding the use of vaccines.
Another Israeli source, who asked to remain anonymous, even noted that the state had postponed the date of receipt of the vaccines assigned to it as part of the World Health Organization’s initiative.
What about the Palestinians?
2,000 doses of moderna were transferred to the Palestinian Authority in order to vaccinate medical workers, and an additional 3,000 doses are planned. However, the claim is that Israel is ignoring calls to provide additional vaccines to the Palestinians.
The main argument is that it is Israel’s responsibility to vaccinate the Palestinians, and that is also in its interest. “The argument that Israel cannot afford to distribute rations to Palestinians is no longer valid,” says Zvi Bentoitz, a member of the board of the Physicians for Human Rights in Israel. The unused doses of Moderna’s vaccine only “strengthen the argument,” he says.
Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kish said in response that even a plan to vaccinate the Palestinians working in Israel is not on the horizon.
Although Modern and Pfizer vaccines are based on the same technology, there are still some differences between them. First, the difference between receiving the first and second dose is three weeks in Pfizer’s vaccine and four weeks in modernity. Modern’s vaccine is easier to store and transport while Pfizer’s vaccine requires storage at extremely low temperatures.
Eli Waxman, head of the team of experts who advise the National Security Council, admits that these differences should not prevent Israel from using Modern vaccines. “The most important thing is to get as many vaccines as possible – Modern, Pfizer – and for people to be vaccinated. I am sure that such changes can be dealt with without too much effort. ”