Three Countries Ask Israel for COVID Vaccines if Palestinians Nix Deal, Source Says

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Vaccination clinic in Ramallah, this month.
Vaccination clinic in Ramallah, this month.Credit: Nasser Nasser

Israel is holding talks with three other countries that may lead to a coronavirus vaccine deal in case the agreement reached with the Palestinian Authority is formally nullified, an Israeli political source told Haaretz on Sunday.  

On Friday, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh ordered the PA to scrap a deal in which Israel would give the PA about 1 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine because many of the doses were set to expire. 

"Three countries have reached out to Israel over the past 24 hours to strike a similar deal to the one Israel had reached with the Palestinian Authority, in case the deal with the Palestinians isn't renewed," the source said. The vaccines in question will expire in July, according to the source.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Health Ministry said Sunday that it intends to resume negotiations with Israel's Health Ministry and Pfizer about "safe vaccines that meet our standards."

Moreover, a political source told Haaretz on Saturday that Israel and the Palestinians are still in talks to roll out the deal

According to the original agreement, the Palestinian Authority would reimburse Israel with a similar number of vaccines it is supposed to receive from the pharmaceutical company in September or October. Up to 1.4 million doses could have been exchanged.

Should Israel and one of the three countries reach an agreement, both countries would turn to Pfizer for final approval. The deal would require Israel deliver its soon-to-expire vaccines to the country in question now, and for that country to transfer Israel vaccines from a future shipment it is expected to receive at a later date.

Officials in the Palestinian Health Ministry said Sunday that they intend to return 90,000 vaccines to Israel which are set to expire in 10 days. "This is not a donation from Israel but vaccinations that the Palestinian Authority paid for," an official said. 

Israel does not intend to take back the vaccines already transferred to the Palestinian Authority. Political sources say they hope that the PA will eventually make use of the vaccines set to expire at the end of the month, even if it doesn't acknowledge it publically.

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