Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) welcomed the arrival of the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, holding a press conference on the tarmac at Ben Gurion International Airport Wednesday morning.

"I believe in this vaccine," said Netanyahu. "I expect it to get all the necessary permits in the coming days, and I want to encourage Israelis to get vaccinated. I want to set an example, so I plan to be the first person in Israel to get the vaccination."

Netanyahu said the arrival of the vaccine is a major development in Israel's fight against the coronavirus, but called on Israelis to continue to adhere to health regulations.

"We are here to celebrate a great day for the State of Israel. We can see the end" of the pandemic. "But we still need to adhere to the rules."

Edelstein called the arrival of the first doses of the vaccine a "happy event", with millions more doses slated to arrive in Israel over the coming months.

Israel has ordered eight million doses of the Pfizer - BioNTech vaccine, enough to vaccinate four million people.

The Jewish state has also expanded its deal with Moderna, doubling the number of doses ordered from three to six million.