Israel in talks with Pfizer CEO about vaccine swap

Israel in talks with Pfizer CEO about vaccine swap
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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla about obtaining more COVID-19 vaccine doses for Israel and swapping the country's vaccines with those of other nations, the leader's office tweeted on Sunday.

Bennett’s office said the two spoke multiple times to discuss possible deals to facilitate a vaccine exchange between Israel and other nations.

According to Reuters, Hezi Levi, the director general for Israel’s Ministry of Health, said in a radio interview that the vaccines would expire July 31.

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Pfizer would have to approve any deal for Israel to swap vaccines with other nations.

"We are negotiating with other countries," Levi said, according to Reuters. "We are dealing with this day and night." 

A spokesperson for Pfizer was “happy to discuss potential donation requests of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID vaccine between governments on a case-by-case basis, particularly if this helps ensure the vaccine is used to protect people from this disease,” according to the wire service. 

The news comes less than a month after the Palestinian Authority called off a deal to initiate a vaccine swap with Israel, saying that the vaccines were expiring too quickly for them to use. 

The Palestinian health minister told reporters that the Palestinian Authority found out vaccines shipped from Israel were set to expire in June after previously being told that they would expire in July or August, according to Reuters. 

"After medical and technical teams received and inspected the first batch, and it was found that the doses did not conform to the technical specifications as previously agreed upon, and that their expiry date was close," said Health Minister Mai Alkaila, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.

"Hence, we reached out to Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, and a decision was made to cancel the deal," Alkaila added.

The Hill has reached out to Pfizer for comment.