Israel Scrambles to Cure Vaccine Failure
The enticing promise of a coronavirus vaccine continues to dominate the Israeli news cycle and political world, as over the weekend Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced with much pomp and circumstance that he had finally managed to strike a shipment deal with the Pfizer pharmaceutical company producing the vaccine. Netanyahu had come under fire for not reaching a deal with the company sooner, instead betting on its competitor, Moderna, to deliver the much-anticipated cure first. Then, after the prime minister’s press conference on Friday in which he talked up his “historic achievement,” it was revealed that the contract between the Jerusalem government and Pfizer contained language far less promising. While Netanyahu initially boasted that the vaccine would arrive in Israel in January, he was later forced to admit that he was referring only to an initial small batch and that the bulk of vaccines would take several more months to arrive, pending FDA approval. Additionally, the government admitted the deal did not specify any penalties in case Pfizer failed to deliver on either the quantity or time frame it had pledged, a rare omission that experts say stems from Israel’s weak bargaining position.