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WHO raises ‘concerns’ about Israeli-Palestinian vaccine inequity

The World Health Organization has raised “concerns” about the unequal distribution of coronavirus vaccines in Israel, which has given shots to more than 20 percent of its population, and the Palestinian territories, where Palestinians have yet to receive any, an official says.

Rights groups say Israel has the responsibility, as an occupying power, to provide vaccines to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel says it has no such obligation and that its own population — including Arab citizens — is the priority, but that at some point it might consider sharing its supplies.

The Palestinian Authority has accused Israel of “racism” for not sharing its vaccines, but it has made no formal request to Israel and says it is procuring its own supplies through a WHO program and agreements with private companies.

The dispute reflects global inequality in access to vaccines, as wealthy countries vacuum up the lion’s share of doses, leaving poorer countries even farther behind in combating the public health and economic effects of the pandemic.

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