Israel is offering coronavirus vaccines to various countries as a reward for their diplomatic support, public broadcaster Kan said Tuesday, citing a source familiar with the development.
A plane from Honduras was to deliver cargo later in the day, the report said, and the Czech Republic and Guatemala are also interested.
The three countries have previously announced that they will open diplomatic offices in Jerusalem, and the source said that the delivery of the vaccines is part of the process to bring the missions to the capital.
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The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that they were sending thousands of vaccines to the Palestinian Authority as well as photos to other destinations, without speculation.
According to a report from the PMO, Israel has been registered with several countries with requests for vaccines.
“Israel will not manufacture the vaccines themselves and they have told the countries that the amounts ordered by Israel have been announced for the vaccination of their population and it is not expected that it can help much until end of vaccination in Israel, “the statement said.
But he added that the stocks of vaccines in the country allow him to transfer a symbolic number of vaccines to Palestinian medical workers and to other countries that have asked for help. The statement did not name the countries or type of vaccines to be given, simply saying that thousands of vaccines will be sent to Ramallah, the seat of the PA government in the West Bank.
Army Radio reported on Sunday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was interested in offering vaccines for diplomatic support. In talks with several government sources, Netanyahu raised the possibility of giving vaccine doses to certain unnamed countries to try to improve Israel’s diplomatic stance on the world.
The Foreign Ministry has said that additional vaccines will not be given to other countries after Israel has completed its own vaccination.
An Army Radio report said an Israeli government source said the prime minister had stressed in talks that vaccination contracts could be important for relations with several countries, and could be used to help normalizing relations with new countries.
Israel’s vaccination campaign is far ahead of any other national in the world. Nearly four and a half million Israelis, or nearly 50% of the country’s total population, have now received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, Ministry of Health data showed Tuesday. More than 3 million Israelis have received both measures.
Netanyahu was personally involved in negotiating contracts to get millions of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for the country, accelerating the defense campaign. The government is aiming to vaccinate over 16 vaccines by the end of March.
The reports have hoped Netanyahu is using coronavirus vaccines to help diplomatic relations come after he said Israel agreed to buy an unknown number of Russian Sputnik V vaccine doses for use in Syria as part of a contract for a returning Israeli woman held by Syrian rule after she crossed the border two weeks ago.