Israel Exchanges 1m Vaccine Doses with Palestinians

Israel says it is supplying about one million BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine doses against COVID-19 to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

The vaccine doses would otherwise expire shortly, an Israeli government statement said on Friday.

In return, Israel would receive the same amount of doses from a Pfizer shipment for the Palestinian Authority (PA) in autumn, it said.

The PA did not initially confirm the transaction.

Israel’s government wrote in the memo that it was giving the doses to the PA because its own supply met the current needs in the country.

According to the Israeli Ministry of Health, almost 5.5 million people in the country of nine million have already received a single vaccination dose, and about 5.1 million have already received the two required for full protection.

In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, on the other hand with five million inhabitants, only 440,000 people have received a single vaccination, and 261,000 have already received two, according to the Ministry of Health in Ramallah.

The human rights organisation Amnesty International as well as U.S. lawmakers had accused Israel of ignoring the Palestinians with their vaccination campaign.

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