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Netanyahu: Just a matter of time before vaccine-resistant strain develops

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the World Economic Forum about Israel’s successful vaccine drive.

“We didn’t quibble about the price,” he says via videoconference on negotiations with Pfizer. Netanyahu says he told bureaucrats to “cut the c-word,” and advance the sale.

The prime minister says a major “selling point” in encouraging the US pharmaceutical company to swiftly provide stocks of vaccines to the Jewish state was that “Israel could serve as a world laboratory for herd immunity or something approaching herd immunity very quickly.”

Israel “can serve as a global test case” on the vaccine, and on reopening the economy, says Netanyahu.

Netanyahu says he expects that “we’ll have to inoculate ourselves at least annually, that’s my guess.” He says he wants to sign future contracts to purchase new or modified vaccines for mutations, and for teenagers and children. “We should stock them and deliver them.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu receives his second shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan on January 9, 2021. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

While stressing that he’s not an expert on vaccines, Netanyahu says: “It’s just a matter of time until we hit a strain that the current vaccines are not susceptible to.”

He says that’s why Israel’s main airport shut down.

“All the mutations that you see today… that’s two weeks too late. And the new ones you wouldn’t know about” for two weeks or so, says Netanyahu.

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