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‘Banana republic:’ Pfizer outraged Israel failed to pay for COVID vaccines

CM 05/04/2021

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Pfizer has halted shipments of the coronavirus vaccination to Israel until the cabinet meets to approve agreements with the vaccine producer, with representatives of the company expressing outrage at Israel’s failure to pay for a previous shipment of vaccines, Army Radio reported on Monday.
A shipment of 700,000 vaccines was meant to arrive in Israel on Sunday, but will not be headed to the country until further notice, according to the report, as Israel still hasn’t paid for the last shipment of 1.5 million vaccines that arrived in Israel beforehand.
Last week, a cabinet meeting that was supposed to approve an additional NIS 3.5 billion worth of vaccines was canceled amid political infighting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz. So far Israel has spetd some NIS 2.6 billion on vaccines.
Pfizer has expressed outrage with the failure of the Israeli government to uphold the agreements and pay for the vaccines, even using the term “banana republic,” according to Army Radio.
Moderna has reportedly also cut off contact with Israel in the meantime.
According to the report, Gantz and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein talked on the phone Sunday to try to come to an agreement on the issue. The parties might agree to convene a meeting just to okay the funding for the vaccines.
While Israel still has enough supplies to vaccinate the population currently eligible – everyone over the age of 16 –  the country is gearing up to begin vaccinate children ages 12-15 after Pfizer released the first results of the clinical trial showing excellent safety and efficacy.

Health Minister Director General Chezy Levi said Sunday that the vaccination campaign is going to start as soon as the US Food and Drug Administration grants its approval, which he expects to happen as early as May.
In January Israel and Pfizer reached a unique agreement under which the company committed to provide the country with enough vaccines to inoculate a consistent part of its population in exchange for receiving – in addition to the payments – clinical data on the inoculation results.
Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman contributed to this report.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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