חיסון קורונה בישראל תל אביב
An elderly woman is vaccinated against coronavirus at a clinic in Tel Aviv
Photo: AFP
Coronavirus czar Prof. Nachman Ash at the Ynet studio

With vaccine needs met, Israel looks to send AstraZeneca doses elsewhere

Coronavirus czar Prof. Nachman Ash says with supplies from Pfizer and Moderna secure through 2022, unneeded 10 million doses from British-Swedish pharma giant 'can certainly be used in other places in the world'

Reuters |
Published: 04.21.21 , 14:05
Israel no longer wants AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and is exploring with the company whether a big shipment in the pipeline could be sent elsewhere, Israel’s pandemic coordinator said Wednesday.
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  • “We are trying to find the best solution. After all, we don’t want [the vaccines] to get here and have to throw them into the trash,” coronavirus czar Prof. Nachman Ash told Army Radio, saying Israel’s needs were being met by other suppliers.
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    פרופ' נחמן אש בריאיון אולפן ynet
    פרופ' נחמן אש בריאיון אולפן ynet
    Coronavirus czar Prof. Nachman Ash at the Ynet studio
    (Photo: Hadar Yoavian)
    In his remarks, Ash made no reference to AstraZeneca’s vaccine having been associated with very rare blood clots in Europe. Many countries there resumed administering it after the European Union’s drug watchdog said benefits outweighed risks.
    Israel cast a wide net last year when trying to secure vaccine doses at the height of the pandemic and pre-ordered from a number of companies.
    It largely settled on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, launching one of the world’s swiftest rollouts. COVID-19 infections in Israel have dropped dramatically and the economy has largely reopened.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    חיסון קורונה בישראל תל אביב
    חיסון קורונה בישראל תל אביב
    An elderly woman is vaccinated against coronavirus at a clinic in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: AFP)
    Israel is also buying the COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna, which uses a similar messenger RNA (mRNA) technology.
    Ash said that with supplies secure through 2022, Israel no longer required the 10 million doses it agreed to purchase from AstraZeneca.
    “They can certainly be used in other places in the world. At the moment, we are trying to find, along with the company, the best way to do this,” he said.
    “We believe it would be best if they [the vaccines] did not come to Israel and we agree with the company on some sort of way to divert them elsewhere.”
    Officials at AstraZeneca had no immediate comment.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    A medical worker prepares a dose of Oxford/AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Antwerp, Belgium
    A medical worker prepares a dose of Oxford/AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Antwerp, Belgium
    A medical worker prepares a dose of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine at a center in Belgium
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Around 81% of Israeli citizens or residents over 16 - the age group eligible for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in Israel - have received both doses.
    Some 167,000 of the 5.2 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Islamist Hamas-run Gaza have had at least one dose of vaccine, with supplies coming in from Israel, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, the global COVAX vaccine-sharing program and China.
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