Israel says it negotiated COVID vaccine swap deal with UK
Israel is negotiating with the UK to negotiate a COVID-19 vaccine exchange deal, according to an Israeli TV report on Wednesday.
As part of the swap, Israel, which currently has excess doses, would ship around 1 million of its Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines which are due to expire on July 30 in the UK, Channel 12 reported. In return, the Department of Health would receive an equivalent number of vaccines that the UK is expected to receive from Pfizer in September.
The network called talks on the proposed deal “advanced” and said shipments could start as early as next week. Israel is said to have around 1.4 million doses due to expire at the end of next month.
Israel has also reportedly asked Pfizer for answers on whether it can use the vaccines it already has after their declared expiration date. But without a clear answer, the network said Israel is warning it will not offer Israelis the first COVID vaccine after July 9 because there will be no unexpired vaccines for their second dose three weeks later. .
Government officials have encouraged Israelis – teenagers in particular – to receive a first injection before the July 9 deadline so that they can receive their second dose before the expiration date.
Kan News reported on Monday that the Department of Health will destroy at least 800,000 doses of the expiring coronavirus vaccine if no buyers are found for them within the next two weeks. Doses of the vaccine are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the broadcaster.
Earlier this month, Israel attempted a similar vaccine deal with the Palestinian Authority, but failed after the PA withdrew from receiving soon-to-expire doses, saying they were not not up to par. The Palestinian Authority later said it would seek to renegotiate the deal.
Israel said the vaccines were good and that it was using them itself as part of its campaign to immunize children between the ages of 12 and 15.
The push to get young Israelis vaccinated comes as Israel faces a further rise in coronavirus cases, with much of the jump linked to schools and the spread of the more contagious Delta variant from abroad.
As of Wednesday evening, Health Ministry figures showed 5,587,320 people out of Israel’s population of about 9.3 million had received their first vaccine. Of these, 5,167,674 received their second dose.
The ministry has also reported 224 new cases since midnight, bringing the number of active infections to 1,882. The positivity rate on the nearly 41,000 tests carried out Wednesday was 0.5%, similar to the past few days.
The number of severe cases, which has remained stable since daily cases started to rise again, edged up to 26.
The death toll remained at 6,429, with just one death in more than two weeks, indicating the success of Israel’s nationwide mass vaccination campaign to protect against severe morbidity and mortality.