After seemingly disappearing from public view for a week, interim Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has released a video warning that Israel will lose its ability to get vaccines in the future if money to buy more vaccines is not approved by the cabinet.
A cabinet meeting set for Monday, where ministers were set to approve an NIS 7 billion ($2.1 billion) spending package on coronavirus vaccines was called off by Defense Minister and Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz amid fresh squabbling between the Likud and Blue and White parties over the appointment of a permanent justice minister.
“We have to order millions more vaccines now, but the good news I can tell you with high confidence is that the vaccines we order will also be good to give to our kids,” he says. “Unfortunately, there is someone who is holding up government approval and the acquisition of these vaccines and that’s very dangerous because instead of being in front of other countries, we could lose our place in line and the vaccines that should have gone to us will go to some other countries and we’ll be without.”
Israel has enough vaccines to fully inoculate the remaining unvaccinated population, and to give a single shot to recovered COVID-19 patients, according to Health Ministry Director-General Chezy Levy. However, he said Israel needed a continuing supply of shots and wanted to “get ahead of the rest of the world.”
On Army Radio, Levy confirms an earlier report that Pfizer is getting frustrated with the Israeli delay.
“There will certainly be a cost to this. I assume they are turning to other places, and we could be shunted to another place in line,” he says. “We need to ensure our place for 2022.”
Netanyahu has not made any public appearances since a 3 a.m. speech at a Likud event following last week’s election.