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Fast Forward

Fact check: Israel is not about to release a coronavirus vaccine

Despite rumors swirling online to the contrary, Israel has not developed and tested a vaccine for coronavirus.

The rumor appears to have started with a Facebook post that read, “A vaccine for CoronaVirus has just been approved in Israel. It is being produced in hundreds of thousands as we speak and expected to be in the US within 14 days!” Israel’s reputation as the “Start-Up Nation,” a tech, biotech and engineering juggernaut, made the rumor seem more credible.

In fact, Haaretz reports that Israel’s Institute for Biological Research is expected to announce the development of a vaccine, but clinical trials and other experiments may take months before the vaccine is made available to the public.

Similarly, MIGAL Galilee Research Institute, which is state-funded, is adapting an bronchial virus vaccine to function as a COVID-19 vaccine.

One former Health Ministry official told the Times of Israel that it could be 18 months before a vaccine is ready.

Molly Boigon is an investigative reporter at the Forward. Contact her at boigon@forward.com or follow her on Twitter @MollyBoigon

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