Health Ministry Denies Early Moderna Shipment

YERUSHALAYIM -
Boxes containing vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in a refrigerator at Augusta University in Augusta, Ga., Wednesday morning. Mchael Holahan/The Augusta Chronicle via AP)

The Health Ministry denied a report on Thursday that a shipment of one million Moderna vaccines are on their way to Israel next week, according to Channel 12.

Moderna was quoted as saying there is no such plan to advance the March delivery date.

“We would like to clarify that as of now, we don’t have information about Moderna’s intention to move up the delivery of millions of vaccines to Israel,” the ministry said in a statement.

Currently, the only vaccine in use in the country is Pfizer’s. The Health Ministry has not officially announced its approval for use, but is expected to do so after the FDA cleared it for emergency use in the U.S.

Meanwhile, MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler, 65, of the United Torah Judaism party tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday despite already having received a first dose of the vaccination. He was said to be feeling well.

A number of MKs and Knesset staff have contracted the virus in recent days.

On Wednesday night, Shas MK Yoav Ben-Tzur was reported to have tested positive.

Two Blue and White MKs Hila Shay-Vazan and Yaakov Asher from UTJ were diagnosed last week. Likud MK David Bitan is hospitalized with a serious case of COVID-19. On Sunday a spokesperson for Bitan said there had been a “significant” improvement in his condition.

In addition, two spokespeople for lawmakers, eight other staffers and a worker in the Knesset cafeteria contracted the virus.

Previously, then-health minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman, Immigration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata, Joint List leader Ayman Odeh, Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel, Yerushalayim Affairs Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz, and Shas MK Yinon Azoulay have all been diagnosed with the virus.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi were required to quarantine after exposure to virus carriers, but tested negative.