The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and German pharmaceutical company Biontech have arrived in Israel. A DHL cargo plane landed at Ben Gurion Airport earlier this morning, where it was received by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Minister of Health, Yuli Edelstein.
"I trust this vaccine and expect it to get the necessary approvals in the next few days," said Netanyahu. "I want to be the first to get vaccinated in Israel," he said, saying the move was meant to encourage the rest of Israelis to take the shot.
Only a small amount of vaccines arrived today, but a significantly larger load is expected tomorrow. The first smaller batch will allow Israel to test that the necessary cold storage can be maintained during transport. The vaccine has to be transported at a temperature of minus 70 degrees.
“Today we are celebrating a great day for the State of Israel, the end is in sight. But we must continue to follow regulations,” added Netanyahu.
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein described the arrival of the first doses of the vaccine as a "happy event.” Millions more doses are expected in the next few months.
Israel has ordered a total of eight million doses from Pfizer-Biontech, enough to vaccinate four million people against COVID-19.
Another six million vaccine doses have been procured from the pharmaceutical company Moderna.