Israel contracted to buy enough Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 4 million people
Israel is contracted to purchase enough of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine candidate to inoculate 4 million people, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Friday.
The deal would give the country 8 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine starting in January, pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Israeli health authorities, according to The New York Times.
An interim analysis earlier this week found that Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine candidate was 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 infection.
The company needs to wait until the third week in November to finish gathering two months of safety data required by the FDA, and then it can then apply for an emergency use authorization.
Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’s top infectious diseases expert, called the breakthrough “extraordinary.”
Netanyahu on Friday heralded the deal with Pfizer, according to the Times, calling it “a great day on the way to our victory over the coronavirus.”
The Israeli leader posted two videos announcing the news, boasting about his relationship with Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla. Netanyahu said that Bourla would take his calls at all hours of the night to answer questions and work out an agreement.
News of the deal comes after the prime minister has faced domestic pushback for an unsuccessful reopening of the country after a relatively successful lockdown at the start of the pandemic. After the reopening, cases in Israel soared with no plan to tackle a second wave of the virus.
Following the reopening, thousands gathered outside Netanyahu’s residence and demanded that he quit, according to the newspaper.