PA refuses Israel’s offer to transfer 1m COVID-19 vaccines

June 20, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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The Palestinian Authority (PA) cancelled an agreement in which Israel was to transfer over one million Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines to the PA, claiming the Pfizer vaccines were damaged.

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on the production line. Credit: Mike Mareen/Shutterstock

Israel stated Friday that an agreement was reached according to which it was to transfer to the PA between 1 million and 1.4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine presently in stock in Israel.

The vaccine doses that were to be transferred from Israel to the PA will expire soon, the statement noted.

In exchange, Israel was to receive an identical quantity of new vaccine doses from Pfizer during September and October 2021, in place of the consignment earmarked for the PA.

“The arrangement was approved in light of the fact that Israel has a sufficient quantity of vaccines to meet all of its current needs,” the Prime Minister’s Office stated.

However, facing intense internal pressure, the PA changed its mind and cancelled the agreement, claiming that it found “the doses fall short of meeting the technical criteria.”

“After the technical teams of the Ministry of Health examined the first batch of the Pfizer vaccines that were received this evening from Israel, estimated at 90,000 doses, it was found that they do not conform to the specifications contained in the agreement, and accordingly Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh instructed the Minister of Health to cancel the agreement,” said government spokesman Ibrahim Melhem at a joint press conference with PA Minister of Health Mai Alkaila.

The first batch was subsequently returned to Israel.

“The Prime Minister has confirmed that the government refuses to receive vaccines that are about to expire, as announced by the Israeli government spokesman. Accordingly, the government is waiting for the vaccines to be supplied directly from the parent company in batches according to the agreement concluded with it regarding direct purchase,” added Melhem.

Alkaila said that the initial deal between Israel and the PA was offered by Pfizer.

Israel’s Ministry of Health clarified Saturday night that the batch of vaccines that was transferred to the PA was completely fine.

The PA’s Ministry of Health “received proper Pfizer vaccines, at expiration dates that were known, agreed upon and in accordance with the agreement between the parties,” the Ministry stated.

“We emphasize that the vaccines delivered to the Palestinians are identical in every way to the vaccines currently being given to the citizens of the State of Israel,” it underscored.

“We hope that the vaccination campaign in the Palestinian Authority will begin soon,” it concluded.

The PA’s Ministry of Health updated Saturday that it recorded 106 new cases of COVID-19 and two deaths during the past 24 hours.

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