Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has stopped the shipment of its 700,000 COVID vaccines that were expected to arrive in Israel on April 4, 2021. The country has reportedly failed to pay for the last 2.5 million doses that were shipped earlier. The shipment of the new vaccines have been delayed indefinitely due to the pending payment.
Leading Israeli media outlet Army Radio had circulated reports that the staff at Pfizer were calling the country “Banana Republic” and had also commented on the political instability. It was also reported by the media that the senior officials at Pfizer were concerned that the government of Israel would not come out with the payment. The government of Israel is now led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Prime Minister of the country had kicked off a massive vaccination campaign after it had paid for the first ten million doses.
But then the supply of vaccines started to go short in February, 2021. Reports said that the Israeli government was looking forward to buy more vaccines of Pfizer-BioNTech that could cost the country around 3.5 billion shekels which comes to around $1.5 billion. But the funds for the vaccines were halted after Netanyahu and the defense minister Benny Gantz had got in to a political fight over judicial appointments.
Israel has so far recorded 834,000 cases of COVID-19 and has reported 6,243 deaths till date. Pfizer responded over the delay of the vaccines and said that it has completed its deliveries as per an agreement that was done in the month of November, 2020 and had supplied vaccines for some 2.6 billion shekels. The pharmaceutical giant in a statement said that it is currently in talks with the government of Israel to update the agreement and supply additional vaccines to the country. The statement added that as the work continues, there are chances that the shipments could be adjusted.
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