In the wake of pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca's publication of its initial Covid-19 vaccination positive trial results, AstraZeneca Israel CEO Ohad Goldberg has explained why Israel suddenly changed course and agreed to purchase 10 million doses.
Israel had been set to receive an allocation of vaccinations through the World Health Organization's CEPI project, which will distribute vaccinations worldwide. The program is designed to ensure a fair distribution of hundreds of millions of vaccinations worldwide. But at a certain stage, Israel and AstraZeneca discovered that this would not be sufficient.
Goldberg explains, "AstraZeneca has built a network of partners to produce the vaccinations around the world, and transferred to them the knowhow that will allow them to produce the vaccine, at the same time as AstraZeneca's own production. At a certain stage, we understood that the vaccinations designed to come as part of this program are from partner factories that do not meet Israeli standards. Then the race began to reserve for Israel vaccine doses from AstraZeneca's factories that do meet the standard, and I felt that for the company, Israel was on the same starting line as all the world's countries."
What helped us moved ahead in the queue?
"The country showed seriousness. It ordered a large amount of vaccinations, and this demonstrated its belief in the vision of the concept of the vaccination. Also with flu, Israel ordered a lot of AstraZeneca's FluMist vaccines. AstraZeneca got the impression that Israel is a country that vaccinates and will put the vaccination campaign at the top of its agenda."
Israel does have very high vaccination rates for both childhood diseases and flu. As an "island" country (very little travel to neighboring countries), Israel is an ideal place for the vaccination companies to show that their vaccine can genuinely impact morbidity.
Goldberg added, "The local team did not hold back for a second and neither did Israel hold back. The Ministry of Health met with us even at midnight in Israel, with large and professional teams that understood the material. So we were impressed that Israel can carry out a successful vaccination program."
Who will be responsible for transporting the vaccine around Israel?
AstraZeneca is committed to bring the vaccination to one certain point in Israel and from there the responsibility passes to the Ministry of Health but we will support them in this process."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on November 25, 2020
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