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Palestinians receive another 150,000 COVID vaccine doses

Palestinians receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in the West Bank city of Hebron, March 27, 2021 (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)
Palestinians receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in the West Bank city of Hebron, March 27, 2021 (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

The Palestinian Authority has received another 150,000 doses of vaccine from Pfizer, as most Palestinians remain unvaccinated, PA Health Minister Mai al-Kaila says in a statement.

Around 100,000 doses will be sent to the Gaza Strip, al-Kaila says.

According to al-Kaila, some 2 million vaccines have been distributed between the West Bank and Gaza at this point. However, health officials have said vaccine uptake has been low, with many Palestinians declining the shot.

Ramallah has also been rocked by repeated scandals centered around the coronavirus vaccine. Before the shot was made available in the West Bank, senior officials, their children, and even the Palestinian soccer team allegedly got first dibs.

The PA was also widely criticized by Palestinians for a deal with Israel in June in which Jerusalem would loan millions of soon-to-expire Pfizer doses to Ramallah. In exchange, Israel would get fresh doses of the vaccine that the PA had already purchased, but which were set to arrive later. The PA withdrew from the deal after widespread public backlash.

Recorded coronavirus infections remain low in the West Bank and Gaza, with only 2,723 active cases. But health officials warn that relatively little testing is being done, meaning that the virus could be spreading widely undetected.

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