Israel Delivers 2,000 COVID Vaccines to Palestinian Authority

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Moderna vaccine in New York, January 29, 2021
Moderna vaccine in New York, January 29, 2021Credit: MIKE SEGAR/ REUTERS

Israel delivered 2,000 coronavirus vaccines to the West Bank on Monday, the first batch of 5,000 inoculations intended for Palestinian medical staff.

The decision to dispatch vaccines to the Palestinian Authority came after a recommendation from the Defense Ministry and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.

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The Moderna vaccines were delivered via the Beitunia crossing in the West Bank. 

Two weeks ago, Israel answered a request from the Palestinian Authority and sent 100 vaccines to Ramallah for medical personnel.  This latest shipment of 5,000 vaccines constitutes the second shipment of vaccines to the West Bank from Israel.

A woman carries children as she waits leave Rafah border crossing, amid the coronavirus outbreak, in the southern Gaza Strip February 1, 2021.Credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/ REUTERS

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh also announced Monday that the Palestinian Authority will receive 50,000 vaccines in mid-February and an additional shipment toward the end of the month.

The vaccines will hail from many different sources, including the World Health Organization and COVAX. 

On January 29, 575 new coronavirus cases were recorded in the West Bank and Gaza, along with 11 new deaths according to data service Worldometer.

There are 8,205 active coronavirus cases in the West Bank and Gaza. 158,168 coronavirus cases have been recorded across the territories since the start of the pandemic, and 1,823 people have died from the coronavirus, according to the service. 

Last week, a shipment of 5,000 vaccines from Russia to the Palestinian Territories was delayed, and is expected to arrive in the coming days.

The shipment, containing the Russia-developed "Sputnik V" vaccine, was meant to be transferred via the Allenby Bridge crossing from Jordan. 

In December, the Palestinian Health Ministry's head of public health said that the Authority expects to eventually receive 4 million doses of the Russian vaccine.

Palestinians are also seeking to purchase vaccines from Astra-Zeneca, Pfizer and Moderna, but no timeframe has been determined, nor the number of vaccines. 

The Palestinian Authority's Health Minister, Dr. Mai al-Kaila said last week that the agreements with the four vaccine companies will provide enough doses to inoculate 70% of the West Bank. 

Israel has come under criticism from within the U.S. Democratic Party regarding inadequate distribution of vaccinations for Palestinians.  

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