Israel ships 700,000 Pfizer doses to South Korea in swap transactions

Jerusalem — Israel is sending 700,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine to South Korea in exchange for future shipments of vaccines from South Korea to Israel.

Under the agreement, Israel will move the Pfizer vaccine to South Korea to inoculate more Asians this month. Officials added that South Korea would send the same dose to Israel as early as September.

“This is a mutually beneficial deal,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement. This agreement will “reduce the holes” in the availability of vaccines.

South Korean infectious disease expert Jeong Eun-Ke confirmed the deal. She said the Seoul government would continue to pursue swaps with other countries.

“We expect to receive a sufficient number of vaccines in the fourth quarter while the vaccination campaign is underway,” said Jung, director of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

Both countries have reported a surge in new infections, with South Korea surpassing 700 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday for the fourth consecutive day. Israel has experienced the newest infection in three months, and the government says the delta variant is driving this trend. Both governments are looking at ways to control the spread of the virus.

To date, South Korea has given first doses to only 30 percent of the population. Israel has fully vaccinated about 5.3 million of its 9.3 million population.

Bennett said the deal, which he had personally negotiated with Pfizer CEO Albert Barra, was the first deal between Israel and another country. He added that the Israeli vaccine still needs to be tested after arriving in South Korea.

Raleigh Kelman

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