Palestinians drop Pfizer vaccine exchange with Israel – .

Palestinians drop Pfizer vaccine exchange with Israel – .

TEL AVIV – The Palestinian Authority withdrew from an exchange of Pfizer -BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine with Israel on Friday, citing concerns about the quality of a first shipment.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said 90,000 doses Israel sent of the soon to be expired Pfizer vaccine would be returned. Israel’s shipment was to be the first of up to 1.4 million doses the Palestinian Authority was to receive. In return, the Palestinians would ship an identical amount to the Israeli government later in the year, after receiving a new shipment from Pfizer.

The PA rescinded the deal after its technical experts reviewed the lot and concluded the doses were too close to the expiration date. Mr. Shtayyeh said his government would wait for the delivery of Pfizer later this year.
“It became clear to us that they did not meet the specifications contained in the agreement,” a spokesperson for the prime minister said in a statement.

Israeli officials did not immediately comment on the cancellation of the deal.

New Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Friday that the swap was approved because his country has an adequate supply of vaccines to meet current needs. The move comes as Israeli business and public health officials have sought to increase low vaccination rates among Palestinians in order to reduce the threat of cross-border infections.

“We will continue to find effective ways to cooperate for the benefit of the people of the region,” Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid tweeted on Friday.

The Palestinian Authority has fallen behind in its immunization campaign, largely due to insufficient supply and lack of health service infrastructure. Of the nearly five million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, 445,412 have received at least one bullet, less than 9% of the population, the Palestinian health ministry said on Friday. About 4.5% of this population has been fully vaccinated.

Israeli officials say the Palestinian Authority must take responsibility for the health care of its citizens, including purchasing vaccines. Aid organizations have called on Israel to use surplus vaccines to immunize around five million Palestinians living in the Israel-occupied West Bank and Gaza.

Between February and March, Israel vaccinated more than 100,000 Palestinians who work in Israel and the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, mainly in the construction sector.

Although talks about the exchange began months ago under the recently ousted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the swift approval under Mr. Bennett’s government of Israel marks a change from his predecessor. During Mr. Netanyahu’s tenure, cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority weakened, with each side accusing the other of undermining previous agreements.

Israeli officials in the new government have said they hope support for the Palestinian Authority will weaken its rival Palestinian faction, Hamas, an Islamist militant group that rules the Gaza Strip.

Of Gaza’s nearly two million inhabitants, 54,884 have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Palestinian Authority Health Minister Mai Al-Kaila said on Friday that her ministry intended to transfer some of the vaccines to Gaza.

Dr al-Kailia also said the deal was negotiated by vaccine maker Pfizer Inc., and was accepted to speed up the vaccination process.

Gaza’s health ministry said on Friday it had received a total of 207,200 doses of the vaccine.

The Israeli military carried out airstrikes in Gaza after Hamas militants threw incendiary balloons at Israel in response to a right-wing nationalist march in Jerusalem. Felicia Schwartz of the WSJ reports that the outbreak is testing Israel’s new government. Photo: Ali Jadallah / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images (Video of 06/16/21)

Israel is currently locked in tit-for-tat attacks with Hamas. On Thursday evening, the IDF struck Gaza with a series of airstrikes, rocking a fragile month-long ceasefire between the two sides that mediators are trying to prevent from collapsing. Shortly thereafter, for the first time in nearly a month, air raid sirens sounded the alarm bells in southern Israel when militants from Gaza used heavy machine guns to cross the border, he said. Israeli army.

The airstrikes followed three consecutive days of militants from Gaza launching incendiary balloons into southern Israel, igniting dozens of forest fires.

Israel today

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