Israel and South Korea have agreed to exchange coronavirus vaccine doses in a first-of-its-kind deal.
Israel is giving about 700,000 Pfizer vaccine doses that are set to expire soon and might not get used there to South Korea by the end of the month, and South Korea will return the favor in September or October, according to a press release by the Israeli prime minister’s office.
South Korea is seeing a surge in cases and struggling to get its vaccination rates up.
“We are continuing to protect the health of the citizens of Israel. The vaccines are effective and save lives. This is a fact. We have made a win-win deal: South Korea will receive vaccines from our existing stocks and we will receive vaccines from their future shipment. Thus we are plugging the holes and we will ensure that the State of Israel has a proper stock of vaccines,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said about the deal.
Israel has been in talks with Pfizer’s CEO, as the company had to approve of any vaccine exchanges between countries.
“I would like to thank Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla, a warm Jew who loves the State of Israel, for the great assistance, and the Health Minister and the people at the Health Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the NSC [National Security Council], who worked around the clock. Together, we will defeat the coronavirus,” Bennett said.
Israel has had one of the most successful vaccine rollout programs in the world with more than 55 percent of the country fully vaccinated.