Israel announced its intention on Wednesday night to ship a million doses of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to countries in Africa.
“The State of Israel joins the international effort to vaccinate populations that are unable to obtain vaccines,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement. “I am happy that Israel can contribute and be a partner in eradicating the virus in the world.”
The decision was made on Wednesday after nearly a month of discussion between the Prime Minister’s Office, the Foreign Ministry and the Health Ministry, The Times of Israel said.
The vaccines will be donated via the COVAX program, a partnership of the World Health Organization, UNICEF, GAVI and CEPI to bring the vaccines to countries with limited resources.
Less than 25% of South Africa is vaccinated. Only around 6% of the African continent has been inoculated. In some African countries, the figure is not even 1%.
Commenting on the Israeli decision, Dorit Nitzan, the WHO’s European Region Health Emergencies coordinator, said that “These are great developments and so timely. Health security is a global challenge. Time to look beyond borders…Thank you, Israel!”