The Israeli Ministry of Health (“MoH”) stated before the court that it was unable to locate the agreement signed with Pfizer regarding the sharing of epidemiological information on coronavirus vaccines. He also said that he did not know if the agreement had even been signed.
In 2020, Israel struck a deal with Pfizer, promising to share vast troves of medical data with Pfizer in exchange for the continued flow of its “hard-to-get vaccine.” The agreement document was made public in January 2021 with large parts of it redacted. The MoH claimed last week that this agreement could not be found.
As part of an application to the Jerusalem District Court, the Ministry of Health admitted that, although an extensive search had been carried out, the agreement signed with Pfizer concerning vaccines could not be found. “We did not find a signed agreement,” said lawyer Ahava Berman of the prosecutor’s office, on behalf of MoH. “We searched all places, including the CEO’s office and the legal department”.
The claim that an agreement could not be found was made in response to a court petition after the MoH failed to respond to a request made by the Human Rights Association under the Freedom of Information Act. The Association was attempting to establish the authenticity of the document published in January 2021 and whether or not it was signed by MoH CEO Hazi Levy and another Pfizer official whose name had been redacted. Their signatures did not appear in the document previously released.
In a written response to the court, an MoH representative claimed that “a comprehensive inquiry has been made with many officials at the Ministry of Health to clarify whether the agreement was signed or not. Because of the government exchange and the relevant bodies in the office, the Ministry did not find out whether the agreement was signed or not.”
The petition documents were sent to Kan News and Kan News requested the information from the MoH. Within less than a day the MoH found the signed agreement and submitted it to the court.