The Palestinian Authority (PA) has begun distributing COVID-19 vaccine doses received from Israel this week, according to the Associated Press.
The primary focus of the first 5,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine given to the PA will be the inoculation of medical workers on the front-line of the pandemic, according to the AP via the Seattle Times.
The PA reported receiving the 2,000 vaccine doses, per the Times, but did not specify where they came from.
A World Health Organization (WHO) program is expected to provide thousands of doses to the PA, according to the Seattle Times.
Israel has already inoculated 3 million people with both a first and second dose thanks to a large vaccine supply from agreements with the drug companies Moderna and Pfizer, according to the Seattle Times.
Many rights groups have called on Israel to vaccinate Palestinians while the WHO has highlighted concern over an inequity between Israel’s successful vaccination program and Palestine’s scant number of doses, according to the Times. (RELATED: ‘Disappointing’ – Fauci Criticizes Slow Vaccine Rollout, Says More Resources Are Needed For Local And State Governments)
Per Benny Gantz, Israel has agreed to transfer 5,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine to the Palestinians to immunize front-line medical workers.
— OneVoice Movement (@OneVoice) January 31, 2021
Meanwhile the PA has not requested vaccines from Israel per the Times but has an obligation under the Oslo accords, which note that both Israel and the PA should cooperate in the face of epidemics, from the 1990s to provide healthcare across the territories it controls.
The WHO in a Monday announcement highlighted that the PA will receive 37,440 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine “subject to approvals of supply agreements with manufacturers” from mid-February, according to the Times. A further 240,000 to 405,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be given to the PA will be given from mid- to late February as a part of the WHO COVAX program giving vaccines to poor countries.