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Israel to send 1 million coronavirus vaccine doses to Palestinians

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

Israel will give at least 1 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to the Palestinian Authority (PA) under a deal to share shots, officials said on Friday, in a boost for the Palestinians’ vaccination campaign in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

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Under the terms of the deal, announced by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office, the PA agreed to give Israel a reciprocal number of doses from one of its own shipments due to arrive later this year.

“Israel will transfer to the Palestinian Authority 1-1.4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine,” a joint statement from Bennett’s office and the health and defence ministries said.

The Pfizer-BioNTech doses earmarked for transfer “will expire soon”, the statement said, and they were “approved in light of the fact that Israel’s vaccine stock meets its needs today.”

A source in the PA health ministry confirmed the deal and said the Palestinians expect to receive a shipment of Pfizer doses in August or September. The Israeli statement said Israel would receive reciprocal doses from the PA in September or October.

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Neither side said when the initial Israeli transfer to the PA would be made.

Israel, which led the world with its swift vaccine roll-out, had faced criticism for not doing more to ensure Palestinian access to doses. Around 55% of eligible Israelis are fully vaccinated.

Some 30% of eligible Palestinians have received at least one vaccine dose, according to Palestinian officials.

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