As the American drug company Moderna announced Monday that it had developed a COVID-19 vaccine that is 94.5 percent effective, Israeli scientist Tal Zaks was among the company leaders touting the good news to the media.
That’s because Zaks, who earned a doctorate at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba, is the chief medical officer at Moderna and has been involved in overseeing its unprecedentedly rapid push for a coronavirus vaccine.
“The overall effectiveness has been remarkable … it’s a great day,” he told BBC News.
In an interview last month with The Jerusalem Post, Zaks said he moved to the United States because it offered him a greater chance to “fulfil my dream and translate science into medicine.”
“I hope that Israel will continue to develop its bio-tech sector. Wherever I can be most effective is where you’ll find me,” the 54-year-old scientist said.
The previous month, Zaks told the Post that his 80-year-old mother lives in Raanana, Israel, and that the virus derailed his plans to see her during Passover earlier this year.
“I want her to get vaccinated and the rest of us to get vaccinated so life can return to normal,” he said. “I take this responsibility deeply and personally.”
Moderna’s vaccine will likely not be ready for mass distribution until the spring, but reports claim that it can survive in less extreme temperatures than the one by Pfizer, which requires special refrigeration. The Pfizer vaccine claimed recently to be 90 percent effective.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla is from a Jewish family in Thessaloniki, Greece, and its head scientist, Mikael Dolsten, is from a Jewish family in Sweden.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.