Pfizer execs thank Israel for data

Heads of major vaccine producers say they expect Israeli data to help the rest of the world beat COVID-19.

Shlomo Witty ,

Coronavirus vaccine
Coronavirus vaccine
Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer revealed tonight (Thursday) why Israel was the first to receive a significant inventory of vaccines against COVID-19.

"We knew it would be good for humanity if we chose one country where we could demonstrate what the complete vaccination of the population could contribute to the health of its people, and also to the economy - because the economy could be reopened," Bourla said in an interview with Channel 12.

"Of course I talked to several heads of state, including Netanyahu, and he convinced me that Israel is a place with the right conditions for an experiment. I was impressed by your prime minister's obsession - he called me 30 times."

Bourla responded to Prime Minister Netanyahu's claim that he is the only one who can purchase the vaccines from Pfizer: "As with all our contracts around the world, in Israel we did not sign a contract with an independent company or organization. We only sign contracts with government agencies. The vaccines will be sold to each country, irrespective of the head of state.”

The CEO of Pfizer estimated that young teenagers will be able to be vaccinated in the fall, and it will be possible to vaccinate primary school children by the end of 2021.

Data collected following the vaccination campaign in Israel, which is considered the fastest and most successful in the world, shows that Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine is even more effective than previously thought, and its effectiveness in preventing serious illness or disease with symptoms is 97 percent.

A statement issued by Pfizer and BioNTech said that the data collected from the vaccination campaign in Israel is critical to the global vaccination campaign, and gives hope to many countries that they will be able to leave the crisis behind soon.

"These real-time data can be of great importance to countries around the world, as they promote their own immunization campaigns a year after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic," Pfizer and BioNTech said in a statement.

The data were collected in Israel between January 17 and March 6 and prove that Pfizer's vaccine is 97 percent effective in preventing asymptomatic disease. These are better data than were found in previous studies conducted with the start of the global vaccination campaign in December.

Luis Judar, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Pfizer, said: “The real-time efficacy data coming from Israel confirms the high efficacy demonstrated in our third-stage clinical trial, showing the significant impact of the vaccine in preventing serious illness and death. Overall, these data are critical to understanding the role of the vaccine in fighting the epidemic, and give hope to other countries dealing with this devastating disease that has plagued the world for more than a year."

BioNTech founder Ogor Shahin said that "real-time data reported from Israel proves that our vaccine is particularly effective in fighting the coronavirus. Our vaccine has been effective in preventing coronary heart disease as well as deeply reducing the rate of seriously symptomatic patients.”



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