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Vacci-nation

PM Bennett announces $3 billion reserve to combat future coronavirus waves

Israel has ordered another 6 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine in anticipation of FDA approval

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett leads a Cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, Oct. 24, 2021. (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch/POOL)

While lauding Israel for making its way out of the "Delta" wave, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the country must prepare for any future waves of the coronavirus – and announced a $3 billion reserve in order to do so.

"We are creating a 10 billion shekel economic and medical safety net for future waves of the coronavirus that could happen this month, in another six months or not at all," he said.

Speaking at Sunday's Cabinet meeting, Bennett said that the Israeli model created under his government has worked, managing to keep the economy mostly open while also tamping down a fourth wave of the virus this summer. Bennett said the balance involved "micro-managing the situation on a daily basis while taking all considerations – not just the epidemiological – into account."

While optimistic, Bennett encouraged caution.

"We are always looking toward the future and preparing with infrastructure for the possibility of future waves of morbidity," he said.

In addition, Israel has ordered another 6 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine in anticipation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approving the shot for children ages 5 to 11.

The shipment should arrive in January, according to Israel's KAN broadcaster, which reported the news on Sunday.

The FDA is set this week to consider Pfizer's recommendation to approve its company's vaccine for emergency use in children ages 5 to 11. The approval is widely expected and Israel will likely begin a vaccine campaign for that age group with its current stock of injections.

In light of the approval, the Ministry of Health will most likely ban serological tests for children in that age range in order to encourage parents to vaccinate their children, according to a Channel 12 report.

Israel has widely used serological testing specifically for children up to 11 years old to determine whether they have COVID antibodies, which would grant them a Green Passport. The Green Passport enables the holder to freely access certain public venues without presenting a negative COVID test.

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The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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