Bennett on the Phone with Pfizer CEO Bourla

YERUSHALAYIM -
U.S. President Joe Biden listens to Pfizer CEO, Albert Bourla during a visit to Britain in June. (REUTERS/ Kevin Lamarque)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has been on the phone with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla about replenishing Israel’s vaccine supply.

The pair are have “recently spoken several times,” in particular about existing and future variants, as well as the possibilities for supplying Israel with additional Pfizer vaccines, and possible deals for exchanging vaccines between Israel and various countries, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday.

The high-level conversations are a continuation of the numerous personal contacts that then-Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu initiated with the Pfizer chief. Bourla later confirmed that Netanyahu’s perseverance was key in securing vaccines for Israel ahead of other countries.

Earlier in the day, Reuters reported that Israel is in talks with other countries about a deal to unload its surplus of Pfizer/BioNtech COVID-19 vaccines, doses of which are due to expire by the end of the month, Professor Chezy Levi, the ministry’s director general, said. He did not provide details about the number of doses Israel was looking to hand over in an apparent swap arrangement.

In an interview with Radio 103 FM, he confirmed that such a deal had been discussed with Britain last week but said an agreement had not materialized and was “a thing of the past.”

Haaretz put the amount of doses at about 1 million.

“We are negotiating with other countries,” Levi said in the interview, without naming them. “We are dealing with this day and night.”

He said the doses expire on July 31 and that any deal would have to win Pfizer’s approval.