Israel scaled down its original plan to purchase 36 million vaccine doses from Pfeizer to get around political obstacles. The sum involved in that order called for cabinet approval, which Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz withheld pending the prime minister’s appointment of a permanent justice minister. By reducing the size of the purchase and is cost, the Health Ministry was able to place the order without cabinet approval. The deal, which also covers the prospective inclusion of adolescents in the drive, contained an option for future vaccine orders from Pfizer. A similar transaction with Moderna is in the works.
The mass vaccination drive is credited with Israel’s high rate of recovery from the pandemic and virtual return to normal. Some 55pc of the population have been inoculated against the virus.