Israel is set to send 700,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COIVD-19 vaccine to South Korea after the two nations signed a deal Tuesday.
Israel will supply doses for Seoul that are set to expire at the end of July.
In return, South Korea will give the same number of doses to Israel later this year when they are needed.
“We continue to protect the lives of Israeli citizens,” Bennett said in a statement.
“The vaccines are efficient and life-saving — that’s a fact. We agreed to an exchange that is a win-win situation. South Korea will receive vaccines from our existing stocks and we will be repaid from their future orders.”
Tuesday’s deal came weeks after the Palestinian Authority refused a similar agreement, citing the quickly approaching expiration date of the vaccine doses.
The Palestinian Authority had signed the deal, but backed out of it, even though Israel is using the batch of doses to vaccinate its teens.
Ramallah, a Palestinian city, canceled the agreement in June because of the expiration date on the doses.
The Health Ministry in Jerusalem said that the doses were “perfectly sound” and “identical in every way to the vaccines currently being given to citizens of Israel.”
It is standard practice to use vaccines with close expiration dates as long as the date has not passed and the manufacturers say it is safe to use the dose, according to health officials.
Israel was one of the first countries to receive doses of Pfizer’s vaccine late last year.
The majority of Israel’s nine million citizens have been fully vaccinated, but there has been a stall as the Pfizer doses are set to expire at the end of the month, The Wall Street Journal reported.
South Korea, on the other hand, has only administered one dose of the vaccine to less than a third of its population due to global waiting lines for the vaccine.
The vaccines are expected to arrive in South Korea on Wednesday and should be useable within a week after quality inspections, The Wall Street Journal reported.
South Korean health officials estimate that the 700,000 doses will be administered within a day or two.
Once South Korea receives the 60 million doses it is currently waiting on, it will send 700,000 back to Israel in September or October.
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