Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) unit Teva Israel-SLE has signed an exclusive agreement with the state to distribute COVID-19 vaccinations in Israel. Teva Israel-SLA may seek partners to assist in implementing the nationwide vaccination program.
Teva Israel SLA CEO Yossi Ofek told “Globes” that the company will be ready to begin distributing Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations in Israel in the next few weeks.
He said, “We are waiting for the green light and the possibility that within several weeks millions of vaccination shots will arrive here. It’s looking like Israel will be the first place, after the US, that will receive vaccinations for a large part of the population, even before Britain.”
Teva was selected for the task several weeks ago. Ofek said, “But since the announcement the vaccine shots are set to arrive in larger numbers than expected. We have strengthened the readiness at Teva SLA’s logistics center in Shoham and Teva’s center in Kfar Saba. On both these sites there are already freezers that can chill Pfizer’s vaccinations to minus 70°C, and we are in the process of obtaining more freezers, so that within several weeks we can take in three million vaccination doses at this temperature. Moderna’s vaccination is kept at a less low temperature and we are already prepared to receive them today.”
He added, “This is something that we have not ever previously experienced in this field. We have developed methods in the country to cope with it, from the moment that the plane leaves the factory to us. The process is very complicated and has to be 100% successful.”
“The vaccinations will reach Shoham in special packages containing dry ice and will be divided into mini-packages of 970 vaccine shots in each mini-package. When the package lands we check the temperature thermometer to be certain that the vaccine was kept at the required temperature throughout the journey so far. We disconnect that Pfizer GPS and add Teva’s GPS. We break the big package down into mini-packages that are still kept frozen.”
The plan is to distribute these mini-packages to several hundred end-points in health funds, care homes, and perhaps other institutions.
At the end points the health fund takes responsibility for the package but all this does not already have to be done at deep-freeze temperatures but from the moment that the min-package comes out of the freezer, it can be kept at the classic temperature for vaccinations of 2-8°C for up to five days.
So if the health fund is responsible for the process over five days there will be 970 people at every end-point that can receive the vaccine?
“970 for every package and potentially much more than that. From our experience the health funds know how to do this.”
So the aim is to bring the vaccine as close as possible to the people being vaccinated rather than making them travel to the vaccine?
“Yes that is absolutely the plan. Whether the health funds will be solely responsible for the process or some cases other agencies will be mobilized that is already a decision for the Ministry of Health. We don’t know anything about which of the various parts of the population will get priority for the vaccine.”
What about legal responsibility?
“We have responsibility for any defect in the product during the period it is in our hands. Regarding responsibility for the product itself, for the efficacy and safety of it, these are part of agreements between Israel and Pfizer and Moderna, in which we are not involved.”
Israel’s Ministry of Health will give the green light to vaccinating Israel’s population as soon as the US FDA approves the vaccine.