US biotech company Moderna Inc. reported last night that its mRNA Covid-19 vaccine has been approved by Israel's Ministry of Health. The company noted that Israel is the first country outside of North America to approve the vaccine and that Israel has secured six million doses.
However, no specific details were given about when the vaccine doses would be delivered. Moderna said, "Planned deliveries reflect today’s authorization to supply the vaccine in Israel, and first deliveries are expected to begin shortly."
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said, "Today’s authorization is a landmark moment in our company’s history and in the global fight against COVID-19. This is the third regulatory authorization for the COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna, and its first outside of North America. I want to thank the Ministry of Health of Israel for their efforts, as their team has worked tirelessly alongside ours to ensure a timely authorization of this vaccine. We hope to continue to see authorizations in additional markets in the coming days, weeks and months."
Previously it had been reported that Israel would not receive any Moderna vaccine until March but the Israeli media is now reporting that following Ministry of Health approval, Israel will receive a shipment of 2 million vaccine doses this month.
The vaccine doses are needed if Israel is to continue its inoculation drive into next week. Israel has already vaccinated 1,370,000 people with the Pfizer vaccine after inoculating 146,000 people yesterday - by far the highest proportion of the population vaccinated against Covid-19 anywhere in the world. But the health funds say they will run out of Pfizer vaccine by the end of the week (though second doses are being stored for all those who have received their first jab) and no new deliveries of Pfizer vaccine are due until the beginning of February.
It now seems that Moderna may save the day, although Minister of Health Yuli Edelstein insists that no Moderna vaccine will be arriving in Israel before March.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 5, 2021
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