COVID-19: Israel receives first Pfizer pill shipment

The Paxlovid pills are geared towards patients in mild to moderate conditions within the first three days of symptoms.

 Pfizer Paxlovid antiviral treatment pill arrives in Israel.  (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
Pfizer Paxlovid antiviral treatment pill arrives in Israel.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

The first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 antiviral treatment pill Paxlovid landed in Israel on Sunday at Ben-Gurion Airport. 

"The Pfizer drug that is arriving in Israel today, among the first countries in the world, is an important addition to the arsenal in the war against the pandemic," said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, adding that Israel is one of the first countries in the world to purchase the pill. 

The deal was brokered by Bennett, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz. 

The pill comes as Omicron hits new daily case highs worldwide. Nearly 4,000 Covid-19 cases were diagnosed in Israel on Thursday.

In a briefing on Tuesday, Bennett said the pills would arrive on Wednesday. The Health Ministry gave emergency authorization for the use of the pill on Sunday. 

 Pfizer Paxlovid antiviral treatment pill arrives in Israel.  (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV) Pfizer Paxlovid antiviral treatment pill arrives in Israel. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

The drug is to be taken by patients in mild to moderate condition within the first three days of symptoms onset. Treatment is once every 12 hours for five days.

Pfizer Paxlovid antiviral COVID-19 treatment pill arrives in Israel. (Credit: Avshalom Sassoni/Maariv)

Paxlovid received FDA approval after showing in Phase II/III clinical trial that it reduces severe disease, hospitalization and death by 89% when patients are treated early. 

Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman contributed to this report.