Israel received its first batch of Pfizer’s vaccine in preparation for mass vaccination. The arrival will test the logistics of vaccine shipment and storage.
On December 9, 2020, a DHL freight plane carrying a cargo of between 3,000 and 4,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine took off from Brussels Airport and landed at Ben Gurion International Airport. After the first flight to test out the logistics of vaccine transportation, more than 110,000 doses are set to arrive on December 10, 2020. Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva will store the doses in the extreme cold conditions required.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein were at Ben Gurion Airport to receive the shipment of vaccines.
“What’s important to me is that people of Israel get vaccinated. I believe in this vaccine. I want the people of Israel to get vaccinated and so I will be first,” Netanyahu said.
Israeli government hopes to entice the citizens to get vaccinated by offering various incentives. The vaccinated could be exempt from the requirement to quarantine after returning from travel abroad or having a contact with a confirmed COVID-19 carrier.
Health Ministry director-general Chezy Levy informed that the country should be prepared for the vaccinations to begin on December 20, 2020, according to The Jerusalem Post. However Levy added that Israel is waiting for the approval to use the vaccine from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The country also needs to decide on the priority list of who will get the vaccine first.
Netanyahu said that Israel has reached an agreement with Pfizer to buy 8 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine, enough to vaccinate 4 million people, according to Bloomberg.
The United Kingdom was the first country to authorize the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine on December 2, 2020. On December 8, 2020, the country started the vaccination process.