Israel, Austria and Denmark have announced an alliance for shared COVID-19 research and coronavirus vaccine production.
On Thursday, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Netanyahu presented Israel’s vaccination program as a model for other nations. Nearly 90% of Israeli adults have received at least one vaccine dose against the COVID-19 since Dec. 20, 2020, by far the highest proportion in the world.
“I think Israel serves as a model for the world, and we're discussing some of our experiences, sharing those experiences with our friends, and indeed you are two wonderful friends for Israel,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu also emphasized that revaccination was a likely scenario in the long-term battle against the coronavirus.
“We don’t know how long… [current coronavirus] vaccines will hold up. Is it half a year, is it a year, is it two years, is it more, is it less? We don’t know. Therefore we have to protect our people against the reemergence of this pandemic or mutations,” he said.
The Austrian chancellor expressed his admiration for Israel’s fast and efficient vaccination program under the Netanyahu-led government.
“At the moment, the world is looking at Israel with admiration because under your leadership, Israel is the first country in the world vaccinating its population,” Kurz said.
Like Israel, Denmark and Austria are countries with small populations whose leaders seek a more independent and assertive approach in the battle against the coronavirus.
“We need to cooperate on this issue within the European Union... but we also need to cooperate worldwide,” Kurz said, a veiled criticism of the EU's slow vaccination rollout.
Frederiksen confirmed that the three countries “have been working very closely together” since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020.
The Danish prime minister stressed the highly-developed science industries as a strong common denominator for Denmark, Israel and Austria.
“We can bring our knowledge together in a kind of a collective effort to secure better, more reliable access to vaccines. We would like also to explore [together] possible cooperation in clinical trials,” she said.
Sharing Kurz’s admiration for Israel’s vaccination efforts, Frederiksen said her visit to Israel provided a lot of “inspiration for how we can work closer together when it comes to research and production capacities.”
While all three leaders emphasized the need for cooperation and shared resources, they did not specify amounts of funding or production capability goals during the press conference.
Visiting a fitness center in the town of Modi’in located halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Netanyahu demonstrated to his guests how Israel’s green passport allows vaccinated citizens to attend gyms, swimming pools, theaters and cultural venues.
In addition to Israel’s rapid vaccination rollout, Netanyahu recently said that he had been in discussions with Pfizer and Moderna to start local Israeli production of their COVID-19 vaccines.
Netanyahu, Frederiksen and Kurz also discussed the possibility of establishing a facility in Israel to produce COVID-19 vaccines and other drugs that would benefit all three countries, and possibly other nations as well. While the Austrian leader appeared content to cooperate with an Israeli production plant, the Danish prime minister is reportedly interested in eventually establishing its own facility in Denmark.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.