Amid official warnings of a third lockdown, it was reported on Thursday that Israel may be receiving as many as four million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine by the end of December.
That would be sufficient to vaccinate two million people (each needing a followup shot) at the rate of about 80,000 a day, according to media reports.
Due to the urgency of the matter, health officials are said to be weighing the possibility of giving approval for use of the vaccine in Israel without waiting for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s clearance. Supplies of vaccine are expecting to begin arriving as early as next week.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus cabinet has apparently been a casualty of the ongoing coalition crisis.
The cabinet had not convened for 10 days as of Thursday due to tensions between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz. Netanyahu opted to hold a smaller, closed-door meeting on the subject Thursday evening, according to The Jerusalem Post.
The prime minister met with Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, the Ministry’s director general Chezy Levy, National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat, coronavirus commissioner Prof. Nachman Ash.
Edelstein made a plea for responsible governance on Thursday: “We have always had the right to wage political struggles,” Edelstein said at the cornerstone-laying ceremony of a new emergency unit at Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center. “Perhaps these struggles can be postponed… I ask, on my behalf, of the healthcare system: Isn’t it possible to stop the deterioration and focus on the key issues? We will go through a difficult period before the population is vaccinated.”