Moderna coronavirus vaccines will arrive in Israel on Thursday

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outlined who will receive the company's doses.

US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris receives a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Washington (photo credit: REUTERS)
US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris receives a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Washington
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The first doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine will arrive in Israel this Thursday, the company’s chief medical officer and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed Wednesday.
“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.
The prime minister’s statements confirmed information provided to The Jerusalem Post a few minutes earlier by Moderna’s CMO Tal Zaks, who told the Post that the shipment would be arriving in the country “in the coming days.”
Netanyahu said the doses, likely around 120,000, would be given to people who are unable to come to the health funds for vaccination, such as homebound 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 in a statement that the Health Ministry had authorized its COVID-19 vaccine, adding that the “Ministry of Health of Israel has secured six million doses, and first deliveries [are] expected to begin in January.”
That number of Moderna mRNA vaccines will be enough to inoculate three million people. Due to contractual agreements, neither the ministry nor Moderna could disclose the exact number of vaccines to arrive in each shipment. Zaks told the Post that, “as a company policy we do not provide details of expected amounts.”
However, in a separate interview with N12 he said, “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.”
He said that “however fast we can deliver [the vaccines], that is how fast we will deliver them.”
So far, Israel has inoculated more than 1.5 million citizens with Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine – mostly people over the age of 70, medical personnel or those with chronic illnesses. The country plans to pause administering the first dose of the vaccine for about a week while it focuses on providing those who were vaccinated in the first round with their second dose.
The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses 21 days apart. The Moderna vaccine requires two doses administered 28 days apart.