Israel and South Korea agree to exchange vaccines, take advantage of surplus doses

Israel and South Korea agree to exchange vaccines, take advantage of surplus doses

Israel has agreed to give South Korea a vaccine, and in return South Korea will do the same in the future.

The deal involves about 700,000 doses of Israel's soon-to-be-expired Pfizer vaccine. The agreement to exchange vaccines between Israel and South Korea comes just weeks after the Palestinian Authority canceled receiving one million doses of the vaccine from Israel. Palestine claims that the vaccines are almost expired.

South Korea said the deal would allow them to speed up their vaccination program.

The vaccine from Israel is due to arrive in the next few days and authorities in South Korea hope to start using it on July 13.

On Tuesday (06/07), the country recorded 1,006 cases, the highest daily increase in six months.

The dose of the vaccine from Israel will be used in the capital Seoul, where cases are increasing in the 20-30 year age group.

The government there said the vaccine would be given to groups of citizens deemed at risk. The group includes street cleaners, delivery workers and retail employees, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

So far, 30% of South Korea's 51.3 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Director Jeong Eun-kyeong said that if South Korea still had vaccines remaining at the end of the year, they would consider similar deals with other countries.

Under the deal, South Korea will ship equal doses of Pfizer to Israel as soon as September.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called the move a "win-win deal" that would "fill the gap" in vaccine availability.

About 60% of Israel's population has already received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to Our World in Data. Recently Israel started vaccinating teenagers but still has an overdosage, reports the Jerusalem Post.

Last month, the Palestinian Authority canceled a cooperation agreement on a Covid vaccine with Israel. Under the deal, Israel will provide at least one million doses.

Palestinian Authority Health Minister Mai Alkaila said they were told the vaccines would expire in July or August, but when the vaccines arrived, the expiration date was in June.

"There wasn't enough time to use it, so we refused," he said.

The vaccines are different from those given to South Korea, said KDCA Director Jeong.