Daily: Estonia and Israel were finalists for nationwide Pfizer vaccine

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A coronavirus vaccine at East Tallinn Central Hospital. Source: Raigo Pajula/ITK

Israeli daily Israel Hayom reported on Wednesday that Israel's emergency experience and population diversity raised the country over Estonia for Pfizer's choice of the first nation to receive vaccines for nationwide inoculation.

The daily wrote that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had some 30 phone "some 30 phone conversations with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, in which former Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer also took part."

Pfizer's response to Netanyahu's and Dermer's argument of Israel having a digital database with medical histories going back 30 years was to note that Estonia also meets the criteria, including being a smaller country. Israel's experience with emergency situations and its population diversity eventually lifted the country over Estonia for Pfizer's choice.

"Sources involved in the negotiations told Israel Hayom that the population diversity argument was what prompted Bourla to recommend to Pfizer's board of directors that Israel be picked as the first country to be vaccinated on a nationwide scale," Israel Hayom wrote.

Jüri Ratas (Center), Estonia's prime minister during the emergency situation last spring and current Speaker of the Riigikogu, told ERR that the government did not have any info of such discussions being held within the Pfizer board.

"We did not have such info then, that Pfizer considered us. Guess that is organizational info. Estonia did not have this knowledge and Estonia has followed the principle of cooperating with the European Commission and the EU in joint procurements from the beginning," Ratas said.

As of April 21, 62 percent of Israel's total population has received at least one vaccine dose, Estonia's respective indicator for vaccines is 21 percent.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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