Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, and Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, visited Israel and met with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to discuss a joint venture between the three countries. According to media reports, Austria and Denmark are displeased by the relatively slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the European Union and decided to form a partnership with Israel to develop and produce second-generation vaccines against mutations of the coronavirus and future pandemics.
Israel leads the world in COVID-19 vaccinations per capita and has already inoculated more than 47% of its population. During a meeting with his counterparts, Prime Minister Netanyahu took pride in Israel’s “excellent” health services, pointing out that Sheba Medical Center was ranked one of the top 10 hospitals in the world. According to Netanyahu, “The local vaccine production initiative has galvanized the imagination of the world. We agreed that if other nations want to join us, we’ll discuss it among ourselves and welcome others to come.”
According to the three leaders, the partnership would involve setting up a research and development fund for future vaccines and investment in production plants in Europe and Israel. For his part, Chancellor Kurz explained: “We must prepare for further mutations and should no longer be dependent only on the EU for the production of second-generation vaccines.” Prime Minister Frederiksen added: “I don’t think the EU’s vaccine program can stand alone, because we need to increase capacity. That is why we are now fortunate to start a partnership with Israel… the three countries all have promising research that could pave the way for a next-generation platform”.