Israel’s unique “melting pot” population, lending it a wide demographic diversity, was the ultimate factor in Pfizer’s decision to choose Israel as the “test nation” for its coronavirus vaccines, Yisrael Hayom revealed on Wednesday.
In the course of about 30 phone conversations between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla in January, Netanyahu tried to persuade Bourla that Israel would be the ideal “test nation” for its new coronavirus vaccines.
Bourla was initially considering using Estonia as a test case nation but Netanyahu, along with former US Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer (who was replaced by Gilad Erdan in January), convinced Bourla that Israel was the better choice. Dermer participated in many of the conversations between Netanyahu and Bourla and also spoke to him separately numerous times.
Ultimately, Bourla was convinced to choose Israel after Netanyahu touted its demographic diversity, saying: “Israel has a population of people originating from 100 different countries around the world. In the case of a negative reaction to the vaccine, there will be ample and precise medical information about any possible connection between the person’s origin and the vaccine.”
The other winning argument that Netanyahu and Dermer presented to Bourla was Israel’s vast experience in responding to emergency situations, making it well-equipped to swiftly and efficiently respond to any potential issues that may arise during the national vaccination campaign.
Netanyahu and Bourla also cited Israel’s unique digital health database on all its citizens, with information dating back 30 years, and its distribution of clinics around the country that would be capable of efficiently carrying out the vaccination drive. However, Estonia boasted these two benefits as well.
Israel was also chosen for its size, not overly large but not too small, to serve as a “national laboratory” for the world.
As Bourla said in an interview with Channel 12 News last month, Bourla was impressed with Netanyahu’s “obsessiveness” with purchasing the vaccines. The Yisrael HaYom report added that Bourla was also impressed by Netanyahu’s insistence on having the lawyers from both sides joining in on the conversations in order to prevent any legal deterrents to the deal.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)