Israel will grant borrowed all’Palestinian National Authority (PNA) beyond a million doses of Covid vaccine produced by Pfizer/BioNTech, that are about to expire. The announcement came today from the office of the Israeli prime minister, Naftali Bennett, in a joint note with the ministries of defense and health. L’Anp has pledged to return the same number of doses to the Jewish state between September and October, as soon as they are delivered by Pfizer.
The goal of the agreement, according to the statement from the Israeli premier’s office, is “help the Palestinians in vaccination campaign against the Coronavirus“. “The plan was approved on the basis that the current stock of vaccines Israeli is sufficient for current national needs, ”the note reads. According to the local health ministry, Israel he will hand over a figure included to the Palestinians between 1 and 1.4 million doses.
The agreement, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, was reached yesterday during a meeting between the new Minister of Health, Nitzan Horowitz, and some prominent ministry officials. According to reports, the decision to provide the Palestinians with vaccines had already been taken by the previous government led by the premier Benjamin Netanyahu, but it was still done.
The agreement follows months of intense criticism against the Jewish state by human rights associations, various experts and doctors for inadequate assistance to Israel against the Palestinians during the Covid pandemic. Last month, the director general of the Israeli Ministry of Health, Chezy Levy, had urged the government to help theAnp in the vaccination campaign, stating that not doing so would have risked undermining the goals achieved by the Jewish state in terms of immunization against Coronavirus.
Tel Aviv has so far refused to engage in one vaccination campaign in favor of the entire Palestinian population, despite various appeals from Israeli NGOs, a petition filed with the High Court of Justice and a series of requests from experts. According to the government of the Jewish state, under the Oslo accords, thePalestinian National Authority is responsible for vaccinations in West Bank, while the Strip of Gaza is controlled by Hamas, a terrorist group with which the Israelis do not intend to cooperate.
Israel launched one of the fastest and most effective vaccination campaigns in the world, having already administered both doses to more than half of its population (more than 5.5 million out of 9 million inhabitants), while thePalestinian National Authority struggle to find sera and administer vaccines to the population. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, as of June 14, about 436,000 people (of which just 52,000 in the Gaza Strip) had received at least one dose of anti-Covid vaccines, while nearly 260,000 had already received the booster.
The latter include the more than 100,000 Palestinian workers vaccinated in March by the Jewish state because they are in regular contact with Israeli citizens. Israel it has also donated a total of 5,000 doses of vaccines in recent months Modern and 200 doses of Pfizer to Palestinian health workers, but so far they didn’t seem to want to do more.
To date, theAnp receives Covid vaccines mostly through the initiative COVAX, a program supported byWorld Health Organization (WHO) to distribute Covid vaccines to poor and low-middle-income countries. The project can provide sufficient free doses to immunize up to 20 percent of the population of each participating nation. The supplies so far delivered toPalestinian National Authority in West Bank include 100 thousand sera produced in China and 58 thousand Sputnik V coming from Russia. Most of the remaining doses are AstraZeneca sent via COVAX.
In Strip of Gaza instead about 111 thousand doses have arrived so far, of which 50 thousand (various serums) supplied by COVAX, 60 thousand (Sputnik V) purchased from United Arab Emirates in Russia and a thousand other doses of the Russian serum bought directly fromAnp. Furthermore, saccording toUnicef, COVAX intends to provide Palestinians with up to 400,000 doses of AstraZeneca.