Israel faces the prospect of throwing out hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 vaccines if it can’t find a country willing to buy them before they expire.

The number of vaccines Israel holds in cold storage that expire at the end of July is 1.4 million, Kan reports.

Israel plans to use 600,000 to inoculate 300,000 teens, a goal set by the government following its decision to vaccinate citizens ages 12-16 in the wake of a recent outbreak of the virus in several schools, but the window to do so is closing.

On July 28, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said those who wish to receive a double dose of the Pfizer vaccine must get their first injection by July 9 given the required time between doses.

But even assuming a best-case scenario, some 800,000 vaccines, worth tens of millions of shekels, will potentially go to waste. Israel is thus in the midst of negotiations with several countries to take the vaccines, either for cash or in exchange for a restock out of future vaccine shipments to those countries, according to the report.

The Palestinian Authority on June 18 canceled a deal involving the soon-to-expire vaccines, claiming that an initial shipment showed expiration dates earlier than had been agreed upon.

Under the terms of the deal, Israel was to have supplied the P.A. with up to 1.4 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, in exchange for a resupply of the same number of doses from the P.A. later in the year, Reuters reported.

The deal was advantageous for the P.A. as it would have expedited the vaccination process in the areas under its control.

However, P.A. Health Minister Mai al-Kaila told reporters that the initial shipment had an expiration date in June, not in “July or August, which would allow lots of time for use,” according to the report.

Israel’s Health Ministry subsequently issued a statement denying the P.A.’s claims, and stating that the vaccines’ expiration dates “were known and agreed to by both parties.” The vaccines were “perfectly in order,” it said, and were identical in all respects to the vaccines currently being administered to Israelis.


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