The international media has focused widely on the success of Israel's Covid-19 vaccination drive, which has seen almost 500,000 people receive their first jab of the Pfizer vaccine in a little over a week, including 115,000 yesterday alone, as the pace quickens. For the most part coverage of Israel's successful rollout is used to criticize the relative sluggishness of the vaccination drives in Europe and North America.
The headline in the German daily tabloid newspaper "Bild" on Tuesday said "World record holder: Why is Israel succeeding in vaccinating so much faster than us?" As of yesterday morning, Germany had only managed to vaccinate 21,000 people. With a picture of a truck containing a refrigerator with just one crate of the vaccination, "Bild" reports on the "Five main mistakes in ordering vaccinations for Germany." These include footdragging by the EU in its collective contract, and the fact that the binding contract signed with Pfizer in November by Germany for an extra 30 million vaccine doses did not stipulate any delivery dates.
On the same theme, national German broadsheet "Die Welt" also gave Israel honorable mention. The headline read, "While in Germany we need to wait months for the vaccination, Israel has moved into turbo-drive." The article said that while Germany will receive 3-4 million Covid-19 vaccine doses by the end of January, Israel will get close to five million doses by that date, most of which has already been supplied and is being used by Israel's health funds in their vaccination drive. Germany's population is nine times larger than Israel's.
German TV station ARD reported from Tel Aviv, "Israel plans vaccinating 60% of its population by March. In Germany that target won't be achieved until the end of the summer."
The German magazine "Focus" praised the determination of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who personally called Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla to expedite the matter.
All this is especially galling for the Germans because the Pfizer vaccine was developed in the German city of Mainz by BioNTech with the help of German universities and a €150 million federal German government grant.
The European media also reported about Israel's "Green Passport" initiative, which will allow those who have been vaccinated to travel abroad and return home without isolation.
In Canada, which approved use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine before the EU and has already received millions of doses, there is growing criticism about the slow pace of the vaccine drive. CTV reports, "As of yesterday only 50,000 Canadians have been vaccinated compared with 200,000 in the US and 500,000 in Israel." The health authorities in the Canadian provinces have been criticized for not operating only partially during the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 29, 2020
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