The Knesset’s Finance Committee approved on Tuesday the allocation of NIS 1.973 billion ($590 million) to the Health Ministry as part of the budget for dealing with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The funding request, signed by Minister of Finance Yisrael Katz, specifies that the money is designated for supporting the healthcare system in its various activities aimed at containing the spread of the Coronavirus and preserving the public’s health.
NIS 1.349 billion of the total amount will be used to finance the continued Corona testing, epidemiological investigations and the quarantine of citizens.
Some NIS 264 million is earmarked for the health maintenance organizations.
Another NIS 185 million is designated for implementing purchase agreements with COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers. NIS 93 million will be used to fund the Home Front Command’s system for breaking the chain of infection, as well as for epidemiological investigations, and NIS 82 million will be used to fund the logistics of the vaccination drive, including security, additional manpower at vaccination sites, and training.
A Treasury official informed the committee that Israel has so far spent NIS 2.6 billion ($790 M.) on the purchase of 15 million vaccine doses from various manufacturers, primarily Pfizer and Moderna.
An official from the Health Ministry said an additional NIS 2.5 billion will be allocated for the purchase of more vaccine doses.
Committee Chairman Member of Knesset Moshe Gafni lauded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the successful vaccination drive, which has made it possible for Israel to become one of the first countries in the world to begin its emergences for COVID-19.
“The State of Israel is ahead of all the other countries in the world, thank God. We are pleased that the vaccines are working and that we can begin to get back to the routine,” he said.
The improvement in Israel’s situation vis-à-vis the Coronavirus is attributed to its success to rapidly vaccinate its population.
The Ministry of Health updated Tuesday that over 5,200,000 Israelis have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, some 55.9% of the population, and over 4.29 million Israelis – about 46% – have received the second dose.
Netanyahu estimated earlier this month that by the end of April the entire adult population in Israel will be vaccinated.