Pfizer announced on Monday it was working on a new deal to supply coronavirus vaccines to Israel after an initial supply agreement forged in late 2020 has ended.
In November, Pfizer and its partner BioNTech agreed to supply Israel with an undisclosed number of COVID-19 vaccines, and Israel’s Finance Ministry has said it paid nearly 2.6 billion shekels ($785 million).
To date, 5.27 million Israelis above the age of 16 have received a first jab, while 4.84 million have received a second dose- out of a population of 9.3 million. Some Israelis have also received shots of Moderna’s vaccine, giving the country one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.
Israel’s cabinet is aiming to secure 36 million more Pfizer/BioNTech shots for use as booster doses or for children once they are eligible, but that hit a snag last week over political infighting.
Last week, the government was due to approve the purchase, at nearly 3.5 billion shekels, but it was cancelled in a squabble between premier Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense minister, Benny Gantz, who heads a rival party, over judicial appointments.
The Jerusalem Post reported that a shipment of 700,000 jabs was set to arrive on Sunday but was halted after the state failed to approve transfer of payment for the previous 2.5 million shots Pfizer/BioNTech had supplied.
Pfizer did not comment on the report but in an emailed response to Reuters, it said it had completed all deliveries to Israel under its initial agreement to provide its coronavirus vaccine, signed in November 2020.
“The company is currently working with the Israeli cabinet to update the agreement, to supply more vaccines to the country. While this work continues, shipments may be adjusted,” Pfizer said.