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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a news conference. Photo: video screen grab.

Israel working to get promising new Pfizer vaccine

Israel, which itself is leading the way in research for a coronavirus vaccine, is working to acquire the a vaccine from Pfizer. Recent trials showed it to be more than 90 percent effective.

“Today is a very important day in the global struggle against the coronavirus,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement on Monday. “Pfizer announced that a vaccine that is developing has an efficacy of 90 percent. In my estimation, several other companies are also advancing toward this goal. We are also advancing with our vaccine; it will take more time.”

Earlier this month, Israel began testing its coronavirus vaccine candidate in humans. The results for those trials are still pending. Netanyahu vowed to make a coronavirus vaccine available to Israelis soon.

“Not long from today, it will not be years but months, there will be vaccines that will be available for the population of the world,” he said. “My goal at the moment is to do one thing — bring vaccines to you, citizens of Israel, and we will do so. This means that the end is in view. I said a few days ago that I see light at the end of the tunnel. I think that train is already exiting the tunnel.”

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech SE are the first to develop a vaccine candidate capable of preventing COVID-19 in widespread trials. The firms reported no serious safety concerns and are seeking emergency approval in the United States later this month.

“Today is a great day for science and humanity,” Pfizer Chairman Albert Bourla said in a statement. “We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen.”

Pfizer will continue testing its product until it records 164 infections among all the volunteers, a number that the FDA has said enough to determine the effectiveness of the vaccine. Despite Pfizer’s promising results, a vaccine will not likely be ready before the end of the year while other vaccines say they should have a vaccine in the next 8 weeks.

While Israel waits for a Pfizer vaccine, it is opening up to visitors from select countries around the world. American citizens may be granted to enter Israel later this month.

-Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

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