Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated the importance of acting quickly in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic as he explained how Israel has become the world’s vaccination success story.
Speaking virtually at the World Economic Forum on Thursday, Mr Netanyahu revealed the country’s approach to vaccine procurement which has seen the Middle Eastern country storm ahead in the vaccination roll-out race.
“The reason we did well in Israel is we purchased a lot [of vaccines], fast”, said the Israeli leader.
“We didn’t quibble about the price. I personally got involved in it and I said to the bureaucrats: ‘Cut the crap’.”
A second key point raised was the personal relationship he grew with Pfizer’s CEO and a commitment to share Israeli data on the results of the vaccination drive with Pfizer, provided supply chains of the vaccine were uninterrupted.
“You need personal leadership to move it”, said Mr Netanyahu.
“The selling point was that Israel could serve as a world laboratory for herd immunity or something approaching herd immunity very quickly because we have an efficient distribution system – 98% of our citizens have digital records that go back twenty years.
“We offered to share that with Pfizer to understand what the effects of mass inoculations are on sub-groups that could prove very valuable.”
Mr Netanyahu has said previously the deal he reached with Pfizer will see the entire population over the age of 16 innoculated by the end of March “meaning that we will vaccinate the entire relevant population and everyone who wants to will be able to be vaccinated.”
The end of March conveniently coincides with the Israel election on March 23.
Israel has now administered at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine to 48% of its population and looks on course to achieve its March deadline.