Jerusalem Asks Washington for Aid in Vaccination Supply
The Israeli government on Monday scrambled to reposition itself ahead of a possible coronavirus vaccination release after one of the companies it had not signed a purchase deal with announced a major breakthrough. Hours after Pfizer Inc. revealed its trial vaccine had proved effective in over 90% of cases, Israeli Finance Minister Israel Katz said he had discussed the issue with US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and asked him for help in “supplying the vaccine to Israel in parallel with its supply to the US.” The American administration’s agreement with the pharmaceutical company calls for the immediate delivery of 600 million doses once a vaccine is developed. Several months ago, the Israeli government bet on a different horse, striking a deal with Moderna Inc. for future purchase of the vaccine. Israel has partially lifted restrictions in recent weeks after imposing a second national lockdown in September. While serious cases and deaths have plummeted, infections have risen over the past few days, leading health officials to caution the government against rushing the economy’s reopening.