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Health chief: Same vaccines rejected by Palestinians being given to our kids ‘right now’

Health Ministry chief Chezy Levy says that Israel is using the same vaccines rejected by the Palestinian Authority to inoculate its own population against the coronavirus “right now.”

The PA on Friday agreed but then later rejected a deal for Israel to deliver 1 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, saying that the first 100,000 delivered were too close to expiring. Palestinian Authority Health Minister Mai Alkaila said they “did not meet standards and so we decided to return them.” The PA on Sunday said it would seek to renegotiate the deal.

“We didn’t deliver a single vaccine [to the Palestinians] that had expired. We delivered the exact same vaccines that we are using right now for our people and our children,” Levy tells Channel 12 news, explaining that the initial shipment to Palestinians was of vaccines that expire at the end of June and later shipments would have later expiration dates.

A Times of Israel correspondent reports that her children were vaccinated with doses on Monday due to expire at the end of June.

A bottle of Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine doses, which expires June 2021, seen after shots from the bottle were administered to Israeli minors on June 21, 2021. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel)

Levy declines to try and explain why the Palestinians rejected the shots — “I’ll leave it for them to explain” — but says Israel will continue to try to help give them vaccines.

“The vaccines came out of the storehouses, under the most stringent controls, with the correct temperature. Everything we gave them was valid,” he says.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said earlier in the day that Israel would continue to try and provide the Palestinians with vaccines.

Levy also urges adolescents to get vaccinated, as part of a new government push with cases rising among youths. He says between 20,000 and 21,000 minors between 12 and 15 have been vaccinated since the country lowered the minimum age to 12 two weeks ago.

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