After Moderna on Wednesday, announced its coronavirus vaccine could receive emergency use approval in December, The Knowledge and Information Center in the Health Ministry said that if that company's third phase trial results are similar to those announced by Pfizer on Monday, there may be two vaccines approved by the end of 2020.
Speaking at the Credit Suisse Virtual Healthcare Conference, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said interim results of the company's Phase III trial are due in November.
Israel has already signed an agreement with Moderna for the supply of vaccines for the Israeli population.
In a statement, the ministry noted the Pfizer vaccine trial has yet to undergo peer review and it is unclear from the information already available whether the vaccine would prevent contagion or only prevent the development of serious illness as a result.
"This is vital information for efforts to contain and reduce the scope of the pandemic," the statement said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is in talks with Pfizer Inc over its potential COVID-19 vaccine, although it has not signed any deals yet.
Netanyahu said in a statement that he had spoken with the company's Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla.
"After this conversation, which was very practical and to the point, I am convinced that we will complete the contract with Pfizer," said Netanyahu.
Pfizer Inc said on Monday its experimental COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective, a major victory in the fight against a pandemic that has killed more than a million people, battered the world's economy and upended daily life.
If authorized, the number of doses will initially be limited and many questions remain, including how long the vaccine will provide protection.
Meanwhile other Israeli health officials on Wednesday expressed concerns that even if Pfizer's coronavirus vaccines would arrive in Israel, there would be serious technical difficulties that must be addressed in advance.
Because of the make-up of the vaccine, it would have to be kept in -70°C conditions at all times. "If it is kept in room temperature particles will disintegrate," Professor Cyrille Cohen, Head of Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Lab at Bar Ilan University explained.
"It is extremely important that the correct temperature is maintained throughout the production, transport and storage processes."
"These are logistical problems that must be addressed. Pfizer is developing the proper refrigeration devices for transport," he said. "But I don't think we are prepared to deal with 20 million doses."
First published: 19:26 , 11.11.20