Vaccine exchange between Israel and UK would fail, but other countries could be on the line
A potential exchange of COVID-19 vaccine between Israel and the UK has failed due to technical difficulties, according to several reports on Friday.
However, according to the Haaretz daily, Jerusalem is currently in contact with two other countries to possibly agree on an exchange.
Israel is seeking a recipient for more than one million excess doses of Pfizer vaccine it has available that will expire by the end of July. An exchange agreement would allow him to deliver the doses now to a recipient country and in return receive one of that country’s future shipments from Pfizer.
Haaretz and The Guardian, citing Israeli officials, said an attempt to seal an exchange with London had failed due to unspecified technical difficulties.
The Israeli daily reported that Israel was in talks with two other countries over a potential exchange and that it was also exploring the possibility of reaching an agreement on the matter with the Palestinian Authority, after Ramallah called off a previously agreed exchange. .
If Israel fails to find buyers, vaccine doses worth hundreds of millions of dollars could be thrown away within weeks.
Meanwhile, daily cases remained at around 300 on Friday, with a number of health officials worried they will climb to around 500 in the coming days amid the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus.
However, high vaccination rates in Israel appear to be keeping the disease at bay, with severe cases remaining stable and even declining slightly, settling at 27 on Friday afternoon.
Channel 12 News noted that six of the severe cases this week were in people who had been vaccinated. All were over 60 years old. But Professor Eran Segal, a computer biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science, told the network this was not unexpected, as the vaccine is known not to be 100% effective.
The death toll remained at 6,429, with just one death in more than two weeks, indicating the success of the national mass vaccination campaign in largely protecting against severe morbidity and mortality.
Still, health officials are monitoring the situation closely and could still recommend further restrictions on gatherings if the pandemic were to pose a serious threat again.