Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in a press conference last night that the country would begin its vaccination drive on December 27.
He said, "We are readying to administer 60,000 vaccinations per day to Israel's citizens and that is a huge number. I have asked to develop a 'green passport' plan in which everybody who has been vaccinated can show the document and enter events or receive services. That's the picture. I can see events filled with people and restaurants getting back to business. It will happen and it's on the way and in a few more days we will begin injecting encouragement into the country. We are bringing about the end of the virus and that is a good reason to say happy holidays."
The first batch of Pfizer vaccine doses arrived yesterday morning and a second batch of hundreds of thousands more shots will arrive today. Israel will begin administering the vaccines only after Pfizer receives FDA approval, which could happen later today. For the time being the vaccine shots are being stored at Teva's Shoham warehouse near the airport.
The vaccinations in Israel will be administered through the Health Funds (Kupot Holim) network, which Netanyahu described as "the best health system in the world."
Netanyahu used the press conference to snipe at his political opponents when asked questions, telling journalists that breakaway Likud MK Gideon Sa'ar and Blue & White leader Benny Gantz were busy settling political accounts while he had been busy brining vaccinations to Israel and promoting peace agreement with the United Arab Emirates.
Minister of Health Yuli Edelstein compared the arrival of the vaccine shots, which until recently had not been expected until next year, as another Hanukah miracle. He said that many millions more of vaccine shots were on the way to Israel, not only from Pfizer but also Moderna, AstraZeneca and other companies.
However, Netanyahu warned that until the vaccination drive took effect, a third wave of Covid-19 was developing and more restrictions will be needed. He said, "It's possible that we will need to tighten some of the restrictions and we will discuss this in the cabinet tomorrow. Our aim is to prevent a lockdown but decide on restrictions for Hanukah."
"I ask that all Israelis have the vaccination and I will act as an example and be the first person to be vaccinated. We can already see the end but the end requires cooperation."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 10, 2020
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