When did you last read a positive article about Israel in a Danish newspaper? You will find out in the following!
The Corona crisis has made Denmark and the Danish press open their eyes to the fact that Israel can do something that no other country can. While the vaccine program in the rest of the world is running in low gear, Israel is storming out with 150,000 vaccinated Israelis per day! At the time of writing, Israel has vaccinated at least 30% of its adult population, in Denmark we are at around 3% and in the rest of the EU the figure is even lower. Read MIFF’s articles about Corona in Israel HERE.
Michael Alsen, Berlingske Tidende’s EU journalist published an article on 19 January that would hardly have been written if it were not for the Corona crisis.
Alsen has interviewed 32-year-old Kathrine Tschemerinsky, a Dane living in Israel, to talk about what is so special about the Israeli mentality and the way in which the country manages to handle crises like no other country can.
Characteristic of Israel and Israelis is Chutzpah , loosely translated into Danish it means audacity and courage to think out of the box under pressure.
In the interview with Berlingske, Tschemerinsky talks about, among other things, how Chutzpah has helped Israel with a quick and effective roll-out of the vaccine program.
An example is the vaccine clinics which via WhatsApp tell people that they can come by before closing time and be vaccinated with excess vaccine doses, that way more Israelis are vaccinated per day and unused vaccine doses are not wasted.
Tschemerinsky says she and her husband came to a vaccine clinic late Friday just before Shabbat and closing time. At first they were rejected, yet they chose to stay and wait – typical example of Israeli chutzpah and after some waiting time they were still vaccinated, can you imagine a similar scenario in Denmark?
– It took some audacity to show up, but flexibility is also needed; there must be some elasticity to make optimal use of such a vaccination program. Perhaps one of the reasons is that both Israeli society and its citizens have experience of acting quickly and improvising in crisis situations. This mentality does not always bring good things with it, but in this case it has probably helped to secure the country’s significant lead, Tschemerinsky adds.
Israel aims to have completed the vaccine program before the end of March. In Denmark, we hope to be finished before the end of June – maybe even later.
What is it that Israel can do that Denmark and the rest of the world cannot?
Some time ago, 200 journalists from several media in the world – including Berlingske – tried to find the answer under virtual briefing with Dr. Asher Yeshaihu Salmon who heads the Department of International Relations at the Israeli Ministry of Health.
We started researching vaccine options very early, Salman said.
According to Berlingske, Israel already entered into an Oxford / AstraZeneca agreement in April 2020, then with Moderna. The agreement with Pfizer did not fall into place until November.
– Pfizer came into the picture quite late, Salmon added.
According to Berlingske, Israel’s agreement with Pfizer did not fall into place until two days after the EU entered into their agreement with the pharmaceutical company. Unlike the EU, Israel has been promised ten million. doses of the vaccine in the first quarter, however, the EU will first receive the bulk of their order of 600 million. doses during the autumn.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself entered into negotiations with Pfizer back in November. Netanyahu repeatedly called their CEO, Albert Bourla. Netanyahu has also made sure to have personal contact with Moderna’s CEO.
“I talk to them all the time,” Netanyahu said. has contributed to the agreement between Pfizer and Israel falling into place
Pfizer has agreed to the agreement with Israel for several reasons: Israel was already well on its way to preparing its vaccine program and could roll it out into the country quickly. It gives Pfizer a unique opportunity to see how the vaccine actually works in an entire country.
Ppizer was willing to send a large shipment of vaccines into Israel because we were incredibly well prepared and ready to vaccinate immediately, Salmon said.
And as for the vaccine price: – The price of vaccines is ridiculously low compared to the terrible economic effects a shutdown has, Salmon added.
Criticism of the EU’s focus on vaccine prices rather than rapid vaccination
According to Berlingske, US authorities estimate that the US can can save over 61 billion. kroner for every day vaccination is accelerated and herd immunity means that society can reopen. In the EU, Germany in particular has criticized the EU for the fact that the vaccine price meant more in the negotiations with the vaccine manufacturers than the overall economic and health considerations of rapid vaccination.
Unlike the EU, Israel has agreed that Pfizer will have insight into their data of vaccination. Seen through Pfizer’s eyes, they are ten million. vaccines that Israel needs, a drop in the ocean in relation to their vaccine production.
In return, Pfizer gets a unique insight into phase four of the vaccine. Phase four is the phase where vaccines are given to large population groups and any side effects on a large scale can be measured – this is the procedure for all vaccines.
“We gain a lot from this collaboration because we get the vaccines quickly, but for Pfizer and the rest of the world, which will also have access to this data, it will also be very valuable,” Salmon explained. >
Denmark and Iceland want to copy Israel’s vaccine program
Denmark tried some time ago to enter into a similar agreement with Pfizer, the agreement did not work out. Now Iceland is trying to do the same, read MIFF’s article about it HERE.
According to Salmon, Israel shares “general data, not personal data”.
There has been criticism that the agreement with Pfizer has not been shared in its entirety. According to Berlingske, the British newspaper Independent wrote that “no identifiable health data” will be shared with Pfizer and that the aim is to “analyze epidemiological data in connection with the roll-out to determine whether flock immunity occurs after a certain percentage of vaccination coverage in Israel”.
Kupat Cholim’s key role in Israel’s vaccine success
Israel is not only stronger than most countries in planning their vaccine program, they are also strong in the distribution and effective use of the vaccine.
Israel has vaccinated an average of 1% of its adult population per day since 19 December! In comparison, countries such as Belgium, France and the Netherlands have not yet used the doses they have received.
This is where Israel’s Kupat Cholim (sickness funds) come into the picture. Israel has four private healthcare providers. The providers receive public funds (all Israelis over 18 pay to Kupat Cholim through the tax. Children under 18 are insured free of charge). Healthcare providers compete to get as many insureds as possible and public support increases accordingly. As a consequence, they are now competing to get most vaccinated as soon as possible. The Israelis can also move to another Kupar Cholim if they are not satisfied with the one they are insured in.
– This is a special balance, because on the one hand they should preferably not be for competing, while we, on the other hand, want to encourage them to do their best. In connection with the vaccination, we have seen that some of these suppliers have proactively sent text messages, called and contacted their customers to get them vaccinated, “says Asher Yeshaihu Salmon and points out that it helps to strengthen confidence in the vaccines. When your local doctor or nurse calls you and encourages you to get vaccinated, it helps boost confidence, Salman explained.
Kupat Cholim also tries to avoid wasting vaccine doses and the example of Kathrine Tschemerinsky illustrates how this is taken care of. K
upat Cholim around the country also has standby lists and people on the streets have also been taken in to avoid spilling vaccines.
Israel’s ingenious approach is also seen in the country’s fire brigade where 90% have already been vaccinated. This is because the clinics could call the firefighters via the standby list
– Flexibility has been incredibly important in getting it rolled out quickly, Salmon emphasizes.
Israel’s logistical planning
Israel has spread 350 vaccine clinics across the country (Israel is the size of Jutland). Pfizer’s vaccine must be stored at -70 degrees – the vaccines were stored somewhere in the center of the country and daily transports have taken care of the distribution to the clinics – read MIFF’s article: Israeli pharmaceutical giant with Danish top manager heads Corona vaccination in Israel.
According to Salmon, Israel has taken up the vaccine program as an emergency and introduced cross-cutting cooperation between ministries and authorities.
At the time of writing, Israel is in its third shutdown and experiencing very high levels of infection. Salman hopes it will be the last shutdown.