First doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to arrive in Israel this month

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The Health Ministry authorized Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, marking the vaccine’s third regulatory authorization.

Vials with a sticker reading, "COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Moderna logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020.  (photo credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/ILLUSTRATION/FILE PHOTO)

Vials with a sticker reading, “COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only” and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Moderna logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020.

(photo credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/ILLUSTRATION/FILE PHOTO)

Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine will arrive in the country earlier than expected, according to the US company.

“Israel’s Health Ministry has secured 6 million doses and first deliveries [are] expected to begin in January,” Moderna said in a statement.

The vaccine doses were only expected to come to Israel in early March, but the government has been in dialogue with the company about advancing parts of the shipment in order to continue with its mass vaccination campaign.

In addition, Moderna said on Monday that Israel’s health ministry had authorized its COVID-19 vaccine, marking the vaccine’s third regulatory authorization and the first outside North America.

Moderna has received authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine in the United States and Canada and additional authorizations are currently under review in the European Union, Singapore, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Israel has begun to vaccinate its population at one of the quickest rates in the world, and it aims to reach all vulnerable citizens by late January. Authorities started vaccinations on Dec. 19 using the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

So far, more than 12% of the population has been inoculated, but health officials had said that Israel would have to take a one- to two-week break from the campaign and cease administering first doses while distributed second doses to those who were inoculated in the last few weeks. There is a 21-day gap between the first and second Pfizer doses.

The Bank of Israel said on Monday it expects the economy to rebound quickly in 2021 if the country’s fast start to vaccinating people against COVID-19 is maintained.

Moderna said separately on Monday it would produce at least 600 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in 2021, up by 100 million doses from its previous forecast. The company was working to invest and hire in order to deliver up to 1 billion doses this year.

Moderna has so far supplied about 18 million doses to the US government as part of a deal for 200 million doses. It has also signed a deal with the Canadian government for 40 million doses.

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