Israel Set to Vaccinate From Next Wednesday, HMOs Told

YERUSHALAYIM -
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein attend the arrival of a DHL plane carrying the first batch of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, last Wednesday. (Abir Sultan/Pool via Reuters)

The Health Ministry Monday told the country’s Kupot Cholim that Israel’s COVID-19 vaccination drive will begin next week, with members of the general public receiving vaccinations from December 23, next Wednesday.

Medical personnel to begin receiving inoculations on Sunday.

In radio interviews with Army Radio and Kan Bet, Israel’s Coronavirus Commissioner Prof. Nachman Ash said Monday. “I estimate that within a few months – in March, April – we will have vaccinated a significant portion of Israeli residents, so that we can open up the economy, return to being active and more or less return to a normal life. I hope we can celebrate this Passover without the restrictions on gatherings, surrounded by our families.”

The Health Ministry announced the launch of Phase II clinical trial for the Israel Institute of Biological Research’s coronavirus vaccine candidate, Brilife, at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer-Sheba.

A spokesperson for Sheba told The Jerusalem Post that it will start intensive screening for the Phase II trial. “We are working in tandem with IIBR on researching the potential of this game-changing vaccine,” he said.

Phase III is the final phase required to achieve approval for vaccination.

The institute said its vaccines would hopefully be available by summer. According to IIBR head Dr. Shmuel Shapira, “over-regulation” has slowed the progress of the Brilife vaccine. “We should have been in Phase III, and now we will only reach it by April. I think we have come a long and difficult way. When a [representative of a] prestigious regulatory institute saw what we went through, he said that what we experienced was ‘too complex a path.’”

Israel has received 300,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and await the rest of the eight million doses they ordered, as well as six million doses of Moderna’s vaccine and 10 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.