An initial shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer arrived in Israel on Wednesday morning, the first of about 8 million Pfizer vaccines that the country is expected to receive.
A DHL cargo flight from Belgium’s Brussels landed at the Ben Gurion airport outside Tel Aviv, carrying a small number of vaccines for a pilot run of the logistic of transportation and refrigerated storage procedure, the Israeli health ministry said in a statement.
“I believe in this vaccine,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the airport while receiving the vaccines.
He expected that the vaccine will receive the regulatory approvals “in the coming days.”
Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said the vaccination “is one of the most important missions that Israel faces,” adding that “we see the beginning of the end” of the pandemic.
On Thursday, another batch of tens of thousands of vaccines is expected to land in Israel, according to health officials.
Overall, the country with 9 million population is expected to receive some 8 million doses of Pfizer vaccine, enough to vaccinate about 4 million people.
Israel is developing its own coronavirus vaccine and has also ordered vaccines from Moderna and AstraZeneca.
At-risk populations and the elderly are expected to be vaccinated first, Eli Cohen, Israel’s intelligence minister and a member of the cabinet, said last week.
The Israeli health ministry reported on Wednesday a total of 348,968 coronavirus cases and 2,932 deaths.