Report: Israel Could Send Surplus Vaccines to Up to 20 Friendly Nations

YERUSHALAYIM -
Vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (Christopher Dolan/The Times-Tribune via AP)

Israel is mulling a plan to use its surplus vaccines to bolster its diplomatic standing abroad, Kan News reported.

According to the report, negotiations are on with some 20 friendly nations as well as Moderna, a U.S. pharmaceutical giant from whom Israel procured vaccine doses ahead of its deal with Pfizer.

About 100,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, set to expire in late May, could end up heading abroad, the report added.

The report follows a public controversy over Israel’s previous effort to utilize surplus vaccines as part of the country’s diplomatic outreach, which was initiated by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu said that he had decided to allocate some of Israel’s excess vaccine doses to friendly nations in exchange for past favors, painting the move as his personal decision and not naming any of the nations.

The plan was eventually torpedoed by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who ruled that Netanyahu could not make such decisions without consulting the cabinet first.

Amid the legal face-off, Honduras, which recently designated the Lebanese Hezbollah as a terrorist group and announced a plan to move its embassy to Yerushalayim, announced it had received a batch of vaccine doses from Israel.

The Czech Republic, which vowed to boost the status of its diplomatic mission in Yerushalayim in December, also said it got some 5,000 Moderna doses from Israel.