GAA KA CITY CITY, Gaza Strip (Gaza Strip) – The Palestinian Ministry of Health on Sunday began administering the first doses of coronavirus vaccines it received from the global COVAX initiative to elderly residents of the West Bank’s Gaza Strip.
The World Health Organization նրա Its partners in the UN COVAX program delivered 61,400 vaccines to the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday, while 21,300 were delivered to the besieged, Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
Vaccine shipments are a stimulus to the West Bank, where the PA has struggled to obtain vaccines as infection rates have risen in recent weeks. So far, it has provided only 10,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine և 2,000 shots fired from Israel to some 3 million Palestinians living in the West Bank.
In contrast, Gaza, which was under Israeli-Egyptian blockade, has received more than 80,000 vaccines since taking control of Hamas territory in 2007. Most of them were Russian and came from a rival of Mahmoud Abbas in the United Arab Emirates.
Mohamed Dalan, who has lived in Abu Dhabi since falling with Abbas in 2011, has secured 60,000 shots fired at Gaza. He promised more, disgracing Abbas ahead of the Palestinian elections scheduled for May.
On the West Bank, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohamed Stein said the vaccines would be given to health workers and the elderly. “We are here to launch a preventive vaccine for our people against coronavirus,” he said.
Even with the arrival of the vaccine, the Palestinian territories lag behind Israel, which has vaccinated about 80% of its adult population. The discrepancy has drawn attention to inequalities in the global distribution of vaccines between rich and poor countries.
UN officials and human rights groups have said that Israel is an occupying power responsible for vaccinating the Palestinian people. Israel says it has no such responsibility under the Interim Peace Accords. In recent weeks, however, it has vaccinated more than 100,000 Palestinian workers in the West Bank who have work permits in Israel and its West Bank settlements.
Pfizer / BioNTech և AstraZeneca vaccines are the first COVAX to be distributed in the Palestinian territories.
At the Gaza City Clinic, five WHO staff and five local health workers were the first to be vaccinated with COVAX-donated doses.
“We are very proud to be here today with our esteemed partners to promote the first arrival of vaccines through COVAX,” said Sacha Boutsman, WHO Gaza Office Director, who received the first shot of the vaccine at the event.
He added that the second shipment of 57,600 AstraZeneca vaccines is expected to be delivered to Gaza by the end of April.
Some European countries have raised safety concerns over the AstraZeneca vaccine. But major countries, including France, Italy and Germany, have resumed use of the vaccine, and the Palestinian Authority has confirmed its use.
Bootsma noted that both vaccines were “approved worldwide by the WHO through very lengthy, rigorous procedures.”
Dr. Majdi Dhayr, a health ministry official, said only 1,200 of Gaza’s 2 million people had been vaccinated so far, adding that participation had “begun to rise” a month after the vaccines were distributed. Boatsman said the limited number of vaccines in Gaza was preventing a mass vaccination campaign.
At least 58,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 582 deaths have been reported in the Gaza Strip since August. The West Bank reported some 163,000 COVID-19 cases and 1,824 deaths.
In recent weeks, Hamas authorities in control of the region have eased almost all restrictions on the coronavirus, despite warnings from health officials.
Bootsma criticized the move.
“The COVID-19 epidemic is not over yet. “We are all still at risk of infection, especially now that the government has eased all restrictions,” he said.