Palestinians receive 100,000 doses of Chinese Covid-19 vaccine

Palestinians receive 100,000 doses of Chinese Covid-19 vaccine, after Israel refuses assistance
2 min read
The PA is expected to use the latest shipment in its limited vaccination campaign, which covers healthcare workers, the elderly, and those with chronic health conditions.
A Palestinian worker unloads a shipment of the Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine [AFP via Getty]

Palestinians have received 100,000 shots of a Chinese-made Covid-19 vaccine from Beijing, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

It is expected that the Palestinian Authority (PA) will use this batch of the Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine in its limited vaccination drive which covers healthcare workers, the elderly, and those with chronic health conditions.

"We will continue (vaccinating) our medical staff in the clinics for the public sector and the private sector, dentists, and pharmacists, (and) for other categories that have immediate contact with the population," said Mai Al-Kaila, the PA's health minister.

Al-Kaila remarked that recent measures to stem coronavirus transmissions in the West Bank city of Ramallah - including a curfew and weekend lockdown - had eased the pressure on overwhelmed hospitals.

Healthcare facilities in the occupied Palestinian territories were at breaking point earlier this month, while Israel - which has had one of the world's most comprehensive vaccination campaigns - came under intense international criticism for doing little to assist the Palestinians.

Rights groups say that Israel, as an occupying power, is obliged to extend its inoculation drive to cover the 5.2 million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel says that medical issues are the responsibility of the PA, due to the Oslo Accords.

Read more: Half of Israelis fully vaccinated, Palestinians lag

In addition to the Chinese shipment, Palestinian authorities have begun their vaccination drive with shots procured from Russia, the UAE, and the UN's Covax initiative to provide vaccines for developing countries.

According to the health ministry, 69,000 Palestinians have received their first vaccine dose and some 7,600 have received their second. Health officials have recorded 227,808 coronavirus cases and 2,511 deaths since the outbreak began.

The PA, which hopes to procure vaccines to achieve 60 percent coverage across the West Bank and Gaza, has been criticised for using some of its strained supply to vaccinate senior officials and their security details, as well as the Palestinian soccer team.

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