Coronavirus: Vaccines cost Israel some NIS 2.6 billion

Numbers of new daily cases drops to 2,000, as more restrictions are lifted

A health care worker prepares a coronavirus vaccine (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
A health care worker prepares a coronavirus vaccine
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
 Israel has spent NIS 2.6 billion on coronavirus vaccines up until now, the Knesset Finance Committee, headed by MK Moshe Gafni, announced on Tuesday, as the infection rate continued to decrease.
Many had been asking the government to reveal how much the country paid Pfizer, which agreed to supply the nation with enough vaccines to inoculate its adult population in spite of the shortage of production compared to the increasing international demand.
The committee also met to approve an additional budget of about NIS 2 billion for the Health Ministry and the coronavirus vaccination campaign.
Some 2,003 new cases of the novel coronavirus were reported in Israel on Monday, according to an update by the Health Ministry. While the number is higher than those on Saturday and Sunday – 782 and 1377 – which are influenced by the lower amount of tests performed during the week end, it is significantly lower than those of previous weekdays, when over 2,500 cases were identified.
Of those infected, 602 patients were in serious condition, marking a slight decrease from the previous days. At the peak of the third wave around mid-January the figure surpassed 1,200. Some 211 patients were on ventilators in line with the previous days. The death toll stood at 6,037, with 13 people passing away in the previous 24 hours, one of the lowest figures in the past month.
On the vaccination front, some 110,000 shots were administered on Sunday, similar to previous weekdays. In total, about 5.2 million Israelis have received at least one jab of the coronavirus vaccine, and 4.29 million both.
Meanwhile, the Ministerial Committee for Coronavirus approved on Monday the Finance Ministry's proposal to allow an additional easing of restrictions following a continued drop in Israel's infection rate and an increase in the number of people vaccinated, the ministry and the Prime Minister's Office announced in a joint statement.
Starting on March 18, businesses will be able to allow employees to go to gyms and sit in lunch rooms, as well as participate in professional conventions, if they present a "Green Passport" in accordance with the conditions imposed by Israel's existing "Purple Ribbon" guidelines.
Employees who are not yet vaccinated will still be required to take part in professional conventions using only online means, and will need to continue eating in their offices or outside.
Temperature checks at the entrances to workplaces will no longer be mandatory.
Meanwhile, a pregnant woman with no underlying conditions who was hospitalized for the novel coronavirus died on Monday night at Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera after her condition deteriorated. Her baby was saved through a cesarean section and was deemed to be in good condition.