Several hundred thousand vaccines from Pfizer will be on the way to Israel by next month, according to Israel’s Channel 12 news on Monday evening.
Between 200,000 and 500,000 doses (two doses are required for every person) are anticipated, pending regulatory clearance, the report said.
Medical personnel, on the front lines and exposed to the virus daily, will be the first to be inoculated. Most of the rest of the country will have to wait until the end of winter.
A top Health Ministry official was quoted as saying: “The early arrival of such a large batch of vaccines will have a positive effect on the fight against the pandemic this coming winter.”
Meanwhile, the government will continue to grapple with the coronavirus.
The Health and Education Ministries preempted coronavirus cabinet meeting set for Monday evening to determine reopening of schools.
Fifth and sixth graders are supposed to return to class tomorrow, but health officials reportedly are warning that the classes should remain closed in 31 towns where infections are still high.
Education Minister Yoav Gallant tweeted that students in grades 7 through 10 must return to school, too.
“Seventh-, eighth-, ninth- and tenth-grade students – we have not forgotten you,” Gallant wrote. “Tonight, I will demand in the coronavirus cabinet meeting to allow you to go back to school as early as next week. Returning to school is the priority for me and the Education Ministry.”
Health Ministry director-general Chezy Levy cautioned on Army Radio that “despite the desire to return to routine, we saw where we were and what happened to us” last time. “Things are being done carefully. We have already tried opening retail in the past and we were up to 9,000 new cases a day. I am sure that Minister Gallant does not want that either. The price of opening the education system is a reduction of other things,” adding that he is for giving schools the priority.
Economy Minister Amir Peretz said the discussion at the cabinet should center not on what to open but how to open it.
“We need to behave differently,” he said in an interview with Channel 2. “There are a few good months until the vaccine arrives.”
He argued that the more stores that are allowed to open, the less people will be crowded in lines outside waiting to get in, or inside them.