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Israel to Move Forward With Plans to Give Vaccine Surplus to Other Countries

Moderna COVID vaccine
In this March 16, 2020 photo, a subject receives a shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine by Moderna for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

JERUSALEM, Israel – Israel will give away tens of thousands of doses of the coronavirus vaccine to friendly countries after the plan was initially halted by legal authorities who questioned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan.

Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported Monday that Israel is negotiating with 20 countries to provide up to 100,000 doses from Israel’s surplus of the Moderna vaccine according to criteria laid out by the attorney general.

Israeli media reported the move was a form of vaccine diplomacy, intended to reward or secure diplomatic favors from other nations.

Although the plan was halted, one delivery had already been made to Honduras. The Czech Republic also said it had received 5,000 doses from Israel.  

Netanyahu has never publicized which countries will receive the vaccine surplus, but the Kan report named Cyprus, Hungary, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Chad, Kenya, Uganda, Guinea, and Mauritania as suspected recipients.

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Israel also signed a deal last week with Denmark and Austria to invest in research and set up vaccination distribution plants in Europe and Israel.

“We think that by joining the resources of three small but very able and gifted countries, we can better meet these challenges,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. He added that other countries have also expressed interest in the effort.

Austria is just one of several European Union nations who have expressed frustration over the institution’s slow vaccine rollout.

Israel is a world leader in its campaign to vaccinate its population. Israel has inoculated more than half of its population of 9.3 million. On Monday, the country reopened most of its economy and celebrated its 5 millionth vaccination.

Israel also began vaccinating Palestinian laborers who work in the country.

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