Israel’s Ministry of Health has signed an agreement with pharmaceutical giant Moderna to triple the number of vaccines it will purchase from the company in 2021 from 2 million to 6 million doses, according to a joint statement by the ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office.

Six million doses will be sufficient to inoculate 3 million citizens, according to the statement.

Israel had previously pre-ordered doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States, pending their approval by health regulators. The country is also developing its own vaccine, called BriLife, which began clinical trials on Nov. 1.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the new Moderna deal was cause for hope though warned that it wasn’t time to celebrate just yet.

“I am pleased to announce that today we signed with Moderna for the supply of 6 million vaccines for you, citizens of Israel. This is triple the number of vaccines in the original contract with Moderna. This gives us hope. We see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

He emphasized, however, that the pandemic was not over yet, and that the public needed to maintain discipline.

“We need to follow the rules. Our mission is to bring vaccines. Your mission is to follow the rules. If we do this, we are going to win. Together, we will defeat the coronavirus,” he said.

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein called the deal “wonderful news for the citizens and economy of Israel.”

“There will be no citizen who wants to be vaccinated whom we will be unable to provide with a vaccine,” he said.

Echoing Netanyahu’s words, Edelstein added that while “the professional teams have begun expedited work on the allocation of the vaccines,” it would take “several months” to vaccinate everyone, and until then, “we must all strictly adhere to the directives and not become complacent.”

JNS

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