Israel, Austria & Denmark in vaccine alliance

The three countries will together research new vaccines and explore strategies for future pandemics


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen (L) and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, give a joint press conference at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, on 4 March 2021. (Photo by Olivier Fitoussi / POOL / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER FITOUSSI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel, Austria and Denmark have agreed to partner on a new vaccine research and development initiative.

The project will tackle both future phases and variants of Covid-19 as well as explore strategies and solutions for future pandemics.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen joined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, where the three leaders announced the alliance in a joint news conference.

Mr Netanyahu said: “Once we get over this cycle of the disease we have no guarantee that it won’t come back. We don’t know how long - nobody knows - how long these vaccines will hold up.

“And therefore we have to protect our people against the re-emergence of this pandemic or mutations.”

An Austrian official told the Financial Times that in-country vaccine production plants and pooling stockpiles would be discussed.

Mr Kurz lauded Israel’s world-leading vaccine campaign, telling the Israeli PM: “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.

“Israel is the first country in the world that shows it’s possible to defeat the virus.

“This pandemic can only be overcome through global cooperation. Vaccines will allow us to return to normality in the summer, but we have to prepare already now for the next stages of the pandemic after the summer.”

Mr Kurz and Mr Netanyahu are both members of the First Movers Forum, an eight-nation committee set up last year to strategise on Covid-19 response.

Before the press conference, Mr Netanyahu toured his counterparts around a gym to illustrate how the country’s ‘green passport’ system, which allows Israelis who have been vaccinated or who have presumed immunity to register their status in an app or receive a paper certificate.

Once approved, they can exclusively access certain facilities including gyms, theatres and music venues.

Ms Frederiksen, who has faced pressure within her own country over the Israeli partnership, promoted the advantages of pooling knowledge from the nations’ life sciences industries.

She said: “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…possible cooperation in clinical trials.”

The announcement came as the EU faced growing criticism about the speed of its collective vaccine rollout.

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