Palestine receives 1st batch of vaccines through WHO’s Covax scheme

Jerusalem, Mar 17 (efe-epa).- The Palestinian territories on Wednesday received the first batch of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines through the World Health Organization’s Covax mechanism.

The Palestinian National Authority received over 60,000 doses, a third of which will be transferred to the Gaza Strip, an Israeli security source, which will coordinate the delivery to the enclave, told Efe.

The Pfizer vaccines will be administered as of Sunday, but AstraZeneca’s will be stored until the WHO issues new guidelines after several countries suspended its use over isolated reports of blood clots, the West Bank’s health ministry said.

The West Bank, which is experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases, has received 12,000 doses, (10,000 donated by Russia and 2,000 by Israel), out of which 2,000 shots were transferred to Gaza and 200 jabs to Jordan.

The Palestinian territory has been under lockdown since Sunday, having reported record fresh cases with hospitals exceeding their occupation rate last weekend.

The PNA’s health minister Mai Alkaila said thousands of doses the Sinopharm vaccine donated by China are expected to arrive within the coming days.

Gaza, de facto ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement, has received 62,000 doses, including 60,000 jabs donated by the United Arab Emirates.

The last batch of 40,000 doses sent on Thursday was supposed to be shared with the West Bank, but it has yet to be distributed.

The Palestinian territories (East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip) have reported 241,000 cases and 2,561 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. EFE-EPA


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