Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told a Brazilian delegation that the success of vaccination in the country was due to an early bet on the drug Pfizer.
On Monday (8) in Jerusalem, Netanyahu received Chancellor Ernesto Araújo and Deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro (PSL-SP). Both were part of a Bolsonaro government mission to Israel to speak to the country’s institutions about developing Covid-19 drugs.
According to reports made in Folha, during the brief meeting, the Israeli prime minister detailed the country’s strategy to carry out the world’s most advanced immunization program. More than 57% of the Israeli population has already received at least one dose of the immunizer, resulting in reduced hospitalizations and deaths.
In addition to a small territory of 9 million people, Netanyahu told Brazilians that the key to Israel’s success is betting on Pfizer well ahead of other countries.
The prime minister also said the decision to guarantee doses of the US drug product was taken after evaluation by scientific committees across the country, which saw the vaccine as promising even in the early stages of research.
The guarantee of the doses in high availability was done through advance payments to the company, Netanyahu told the Brazilians.
The strategy reported by the Israeli prime minister contrasts with that adopted by the Jair Bolsonaro government, which turned down Pfizer’s offers made in 2020.
As Folha revealed, the Bolsonaro government last year rejected Pfizer’s proposal that called for 70 million doses of vaccine by December of this year.
Of this total, 3 million were planned until February, which is equivalent to about 20% of the doses already distributed in the country so far.
Despite having had previous meetings with government officials, the pharmaceutical company made the first offer on August 14, 2020. The proposal called for 500 thousand doses in December 2020, for a total of 70 million in December of this year.
Pfizer increased the initial supply four days later, bringing the number of doses to 1.5 million by 2020, with the possibility of an additional 1.5 million by February 2021 and the remainder in the following months. .
Without government approval, a new proposal was submitted on November 11. Over time, the governments of other countries replaced Brazil, and the first doses would be for January and February – 2 million units. This time, the contract was in the process of being signed, according to people involved in the negotiations.
A first agreement with Pfizer was finally confirmed on March 3 of this year, providing for the delivery of 100 million doses by the end of the year. But the contract has not yet been signed.
After a meeting with the company’s command on Monday, the Bolsonaro government announced the anticipation of 5 million doses for the first half of the year. As a result, 14 million Pfizer vaccines would be available in the first six months of the year.
Planalto also said he would get vaccines from Janssen.
In Brazil, negotiations with Pfizer have dragged on for months. One of the obstacles reported by the government was the requirement for clauses which, among other things, exempt the company from liability for possible side effects resulting from the claims.
On Wednesday (10), a project was sanctioned which allows the government to take risks that could lead to civil liability offenses resulting from possible adverse events – considered by Planalto as a necessary step for the signing of the contract.
The federal government’s vaccination strategy was based on the agreement between Fiocruz (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation) and AstraZeneca, for the production of the Oxford vaccine in Brazil.
But the first batches that would be imported experienced delays and the foundation had to face problems receiving inputs.
The federal government also has a contract with the Butantan Institute, which manufactures the Coronavac immunizer in Brazil.
President Jair Bolsonaro even determined that the vaccine, a political asset of São Paulo Governor João Doria (PSDB), should not be purchased. But pressure from governors led to the deal being struck, and today Coronavac is the main vaccine in use in Brazil.
Commenting on the visit to Netanyahu on social media, Eduardo Bolsonaro said the topics discussed were “drugs and vaccines against Covid, as well as the possibility of cooperation for this joint production.”
Ernesto Araújo, meanwhile, said on Twitter that the Israeli guaranteed “all cooperation support” against Covid.
The prime minister’s office said on social media that participants discussed at the meeting the “global battle against coronavirus” and opportunities for cooperation between countries in the region.