חיסונים בירושלים
A Palestinian resident of the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina vaccinated for coronavirus
Photo: AFP
A Palestinian resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina vaccinated for coronavirus

Palestinians expect first COVID vaccine from Russia by weekend

Ramallah orders Sputnik V vaccine, hoping to inoculate some 50,000 of its residents by March; first shipment of 5,000 doses, intended for medical staff, has been held-up at Jordan border

Reuters |
Published: 01.19.21 , 16:20
Palestinians expect to receive the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine by the weekend, officials said on Tuesday - at a time when more than a quarter of their Israeli neighbors have already been inoculated.
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  • The Palestinian Authority (PA) has ordered Russia's Sputnik V vaccine and hopes to administer it to 50,000 residents by March, after last week granting the drug emergency approval.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    חיסונים בירושלים
    חיסונים בירושלים
    A Palestinian resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina vaccinated for coronavirus
    (Photo: AFP)
    The PA governs in the West Bank in coordination with Israel, whose vaccination campaign has been the world's fastest. By Tuesday morning, 28% of its 9 million citizens had received at least one dose.
    Israel has not extended the program, which uses vaccines by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna Inc., to the 3.1 million Palestinians in the West Bank or the 2.1 million in the Gaza Strip, which is run by the PA's Islamist rivals Hamas.
    Under the terms of the Oslo Accords, however, the Palestinian Authority is responsible for the healthcare of its own population and has repeatedly said it is obtaining its own vaccines via a UN scheme.
    Abdel Hafiz Nofal, Palestinian ambassador to Russia, said it would send 5,000 vaccine doses to the West Bank "by the end of the week" and would not charge for this initial consignment.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Abdel Hafiz Nofal, Palestinian ambassdor to Russia
    Abdel Hafiz Nofal, Palestinian ambassdor to Russia
    Abdel Hafiz Nofal, Palestinian ambassador to Russia
    (Photo: Gettyimages)
    "We are working to seal an agreement with the Russian government to buy 100,000 doses, which are enough to vaccinate 50,000 people," Nofal told Reuters.
    Nofal envisaged the deal taking place in February, and said 100,000 was the most Moscow could sell the PA that month. The Health Ministry said it had approved the import.
    An Israeli official said earlier that the first batch of Sputnik V doses could arrive on Tuesday, through the West Bank's border with Jordan, but later said there had been a hold-up.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    מבצע חיסון חיסונים נגד קורונה ב מוסקבה רוסיה ספוטניק V זריקה
    מבצע חיסון חיסונים נגד קורונה ב מוסקבה רוסיה ספוטניק V זריקה
    A nurse in Moscow holding a vial of the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V
    (Photo: AFP)
    Russia's standard export price for the two-dose Sputnik V is $18 but the cash-strapped PA was trying to negotiate a discount, Nofal said.
    Palestinian health officials said the first in line for the vaccines would be medical personnel, the elderly and those with chronic diseases - in Gaza as well as in the West Bank.

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