Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said on Tuesday that Israel is examining Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement that his country has developed a safe coronavirus vaccine.
"We have already scheduled meetings over the vaccine in Russia. If we are convinced that this is a serious product - then we will also try to enter negotiations," said Edelstein.
Putin confirmed earlier Tuesday that his country's health ministry has given regulatory approval for the world's first COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Institute, after less than two months of human testing.
The move paves the way for mass inoculation even as the final stages of clinical trials to test safety and efficacy continue.
The speed at which Russia is moving to roll out its vaccine highlights its determination to win the global race for an effective product but has stirred concerns that it may be putting national prestige before science and safety.
Edelstein also said that Israel had signed distribution agreements with two companies that are currently developing COVID-19 vaccines but reserved that there still isn't an inoculation that has passed all the necessary clinical trial phases, meaning the distribution of an effective vaccine to the Israeli public is still far off.
The Likud lawmaker said that there has been a decline in the willingness of citizens to get tested for the pathogen in recent days and added that he had set a goal for health authorities to more than double the number of daily tests to around 60,000.