Israel inked on Monday a deal with Pfizer Inc. for the purchase of millions of coronavirus vaccine doses for 2022.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein announced the deal will also include an option to buy millions of additional shots if needed. It was also stated that any future vaccine shipments will be tailored to fend off new variants of COVID-19.
Though the joint statement did not state the cost of the deal, sources said that its projected price was between NIS 1–1.5 billion.
The procurement deal was held up for several weeks due to ongoing political disputes — mainly over Blue & White's demand to appoint a permanent justice minister — which led the Cabinet to call off a meeting in which it was supposed to greenlight the move.
Netanyahu hailed the agreement, adding that future vaccine batches will be effective against new coronavirus variants and expressing hope that Israel would soon strike a similar agreement with Moderna as well.
"There were a few hurdles in Israel, but we managed to overcome them and find a way," the premier said. "This means that very soon, we will have enough vaccines for both adults and children. Israel again will lead the world in the battle against COVID. There will be no more lockdowns — we are beyond that."
Edelstein also welcomed the deal and thanked Israelis for their turnout to the national inoculation campaign, calling on those who have yet to receive the jab to do so.
Sources close to the prime minister said the deal does not require government approval.
Israel has already vaccinated 55% of its population, administering more than 10 million doses. Some 4.9 million Israelis have already had both shots.