Israel, which is totally dependent on imported vaccines, called on Monday for proposals for a locally-based vaccine production facility to provide itself with an independent capability to take counter-measures to any new pathogens.
The country is "completely dependent on imported vaccines for any epidemics or pandemics", a government gazette said, adding that proposals for Israeli-based manufacturing on behalf of an international pharmacological company could be considered.
Israel rolled out COVID-19 vaccinations at a world-beating rate and has championed booster shots as a means of staving off resurgences of the virus. In March, it pledged joint production of COVID-19 vaccines with Austria and Denmark.
The gazette described the initiative as a feasibility study by an Israeli inter-ministerial task force.
"The purpose .. is to enable the team to examine the possible processes and commercial frameworks for the realization of independent ability to produce vaccines routinely, and the ability to adapt producing vaccines in the future," said Accountant-General Yali Rothenberg, who heads the team.
According to the Ynet's sister publication Calcalist newspaper, there are three alternatives to building a vaccine factory in Israel. First, set up a local manufacturing facility, built by an international manufacturer, which possesses the right knowledge and technology.
The second option is to construct a manufacturing facility with a subcontractor of an international manufacturing company that doesn't have patents in his name, so in time of emergency Israel will have access to the production line of the vaccines.
And the third option is to rely on an existing manufacturing facility in Israel that provides other medical supplies, and one which can function as a vaccine manufacturing facility when needed.