Israel, South Korea agree to coronavirus vaccine exchange deal

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

Israel agreed on Monday to provide about 700,000 expiring doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine to South Korea, the Haaretz newspaper reported, citing Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Delivery of the doses is to begin later in July, and as part of the deal Israel will receive in September and October an identical number of Pfizer vaccine doses that had been ordered by Seoul, Bennett said.

A spokeswoman for South Korea’s Health Ministry said on Tuesday she had no comment on the report.

South Korea has quickly distributed the COVID-19 vaccines it has, but has struggled to obtain enough doses in a timely manner amid tight global supplies, particularly in Asia.

The government said last week it is hoping to achieve herd immunity earlier than its November target by inoculating at least 70% of its population with a minimum of one vaccine dose, mostly mRNA ones such as Pfizer’s.

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