Israel, whose health ministry said recently that Pfizer’s shot against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is “less effective” against the Delta variant, has announced it has struck a deal with the American vaccine maker for a fresh batch of Covid-19 vaccines for the inoculation of the country’s teenagers.
Speaking at the start of a weekly cabinet meeting, prime minister Naftali Bennett said the agreement was to advance the delivery of the new batch of vaccines to August 1 to “ensure from this moment, a continuous supply of vaccines in Israel.” In recent weeks, Bennett said, health workers had vaccinated more than 200,000 citizens, including teenagers.
Israel, which is yet to approve a Covid-19 vaccine shot for children below the age of 12, is trying to halt a fresh outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant, which was first found in India last year.
Additionally, the government announced it will offer, with immediate effect, a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine to people with weak immune systems though a decision was yet to be made on offering the booster shot to the general public.
According to government data, more than 61% of the 9.3 million Israeli citizens have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while the corresponding number for those who have received two doses is 56%. A vast majority of beneficiaries has been vaccinated with the Pfizer shot, developed in partnership with Germany’s BioNTech SE.
In recent weeks, Israel’s health ministry has recorded a steady uptick in fresh daily infections, with most cases detected among unvaccinated young children. The rapid spread of the Delta variant has led to the country reporting around 450 fresh infections in a day, up from single-digit figures last month.
(With agency inputs)