How Israel secured more vaccines than it can use

World

How Israel secured more vaccines than it can use

A promise to share data from a rapid inoculation drive helped the country win a supply deal with Pfizer

Mehul Srivastava and Quique Kierszenbaum

Late last year Israel was competing furiously with much larger countries to secure vaccine supplies from global manufacturers as the coronavirus pandemic raged. Now it finds itself spearheading one of the world’s fastest vaccination drives, with more vaccines — in-country and en route — than it will use.

How did a country with barely nine million citizens persuade companies courting markets with hundreds of millions of potential customers to fill its orders first? The answer lies in 17 conversations between Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s CEO, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, and Yuli Edelstein, the health minister.

The two Israeli politicians promised to build one of the fastest vaccination drives in the world and share data on its impact on the pandemic, as long as supplies were plentiful and uninterrupted. Pfizer agreed and the deliveries started by mid-December...

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