After conflicting official statements about when the Moderna coronavirus vaccine will arrive in Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has confirmed that the first deliveries will start arriving on Thursday.
“A few days ago I spoke with Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, and tomorrow the first shipment of Moderna vaccines is scheduled to arrive in Israel,” Netanyahu said in a video message released Wednesday evening.
Previously, the vaccines were said to be scheduled to begin arriving either in late January or as late as March.
Netanyahu said the doses, which are expected to amount to around 120,000, would be given to people who are unable to come to the health funds for vaccination, such as home-bound individuals.
“I am working to bring millions of additional vaccines to the citizens of Israel so that we can get out of the coronavirus once and for all,” the prime minister said.
Overnight Monday, Moderna announced that the Health Ministry had authorized its COVID-19 vaccine, adding that the “Ministry of Health of Israel has secured 6 million doses and first deliveries [are] expected to begin in January.”
Israel ordered six million doses of the company’s mRNA vaccine, sufficient to inoculate three million people.
Moderna’s CMO Tal Zaks told N12 on Wednesday evening that although it was against company policy to disclose the amount of shipments, he said that “we have been in close contact with the Israeli Health Ministry for many months” and “we were very clear about what we will have available and what we expect the quantities to be in the coming weeks and months. Now it’s just a matter of production.”
“However fast we can deliver [the vaccines], that is how fast we will deliver them.”