Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday morning said that he intends to be the first Israeli to receive the Pfizer vaccine against the coronavirus, to set an example for the entire country. Netanyahu spoke after a DHL courier plane landed at Ben Gurion Airport with the first doses of the vaccine on it. The vaccines are expected to be distributed on Thursday to HMOs and hospitals.
Wednesday’s shipment included a relatively small amount of vaccines, but by the end of this week, another shipment of about 110,000 units is expected to arrive in Israel.
“This is one of the most exciting moments, I worked on it very hard for many months with the Minister of Health and his staff to bring a cure and a solution to the corona pandemic,” Netanyahu said at the vaccine arrival ceremony.
“We will bring millions of vaccines to the citizens of Israel,” Netanyahu said. “It’s a big holiday for the State of Israel, we are seeing the end. One still has to keep the rules, the masks, the hands, the distance, but the end is in sight. What’s most important to me is that the citizens of Israel will be vaccinated.”
“I believe in this vaccine,” he added. “I expect it to receive the appropriate permits in the next few days and I want the citizens of Israel to be vaccinated. To do that, I want to set an example for them, and I intend to be the first to get vaccinated with this vaccine in the State of Israel. I am sure many of you will do the same. We are seeing the end of the pandemic, this is a holiday for Israel.”
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein spoke next and said that this was a happy moment. He thanked everyone who helped bring the vaccines to Israel: “For us, the operation does not end but only begins, with all the logistical preparations together with the HMOs,” Edelstein noted. “So that most of the country’s citizens would be able to get the vaccine. Vaccinating is one of the most important missions for the country.”
The next few days will see a United Boeing 777 cargo plane landing in Israel with a significantly larger amount of vaccines onboard. United officials are saying it would be possible to deliver about half a million doses of the vaccine on each flight on an aircraft this size. They said United Airlines has already prepared the refrigerators and the unique shipping method for the Pfizer vaccine, which requires storage at -70 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Maman Group logistical company is in charge of storing and distributing the vaccine from the moment of landing in Israel. On Tuesday, Maman teams drilled for the mission of unloading and shipping the precious cargo.