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Health minister: We’re in talks with another country to swap vaccines

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz  at the Abarbanel Mental Health Medical Center, Bat Yam, on June 22, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/FLASH90)
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz at the Abarbanel Mental Health Medical Center, Bat Yam, on June 22, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/FLASH90)

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz says that Israel is in advanced talks with another country to broker a COVID vaccine swap deal.

“We have contacts with another country that I hope will come to fruition in the next few days,” Horowitz tells Channel 13 News. The health minister declined to name the country, since the talks are still ongoing.

Israel is seeking to swap its stockpile of Pfizer vaccines, which are slated to expire at the end of the month, in exchange for a future delivery that was destined for another country.

Horowitz says the coronavirus cabinet on Tuesday will take into consideration many factors when discussing the possible return of COVID restrictions amid rising cases. “What we had a year ago is nothing like what we have today,” he says, noting that 60 percent of the country is vaccinated.

More than 60,000 people are currently in quarantine in Israel, according to Health Ministry figures. The Health Ministry is considering mandating vaccinated parents of children who test positive for COVID to remain in quarantine until they receive a negative test, reports Channel 13.

But Horowitz says he is concerned about the heavy economic toll such a move would have.

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