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Israel delivers 50,000 doses of expired vaccines to Gaza

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Palestinian workers unload the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines, in the southern Gaza Strip on February 17, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

The Gaza Health Ministry has held Israel responsible for the expiry of 50,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine recently delivered to the besieged coastal enclave.

In a statement carried by Arab48 news website on Monday night, the ministry said the vaccines had been kept in inappropriate conditions and Israeli authorities had prevented the consignment from reaching Gaza in time. 

The vaccines - of Russia’s single-dose Sputnik Light type - had entered Gaza through the Karem Abu Salem crossing, but safety tests showed they had all expired, the statement read.

Earlier, Israeli media reported that the regime intended to give the COVID-19 vaccines which were nearing expiration to the Palestinian Authority, following which authorities in Ramallah said they had canceled the contract.  

According to latest figures, 147,368 Palestinians have been infected with COVID-19 in Gaza and 1,228 people have died.

Only around 354,000 people have so far been vaccinated in Gaza, home to some 2 million Palestinians.

Israel has failed to fulfill its obligation to provide COVID-19 vaccines to the Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip.

The regime, however, has fully vaccinated the majority of its adult population and is currently offering booster shots to people above 12 years of age.

On Sunday, health ministry director general Nachman Ash said Israel is making preparations to ensure it has sufficient vaccine supply in case a fourth round of COVID-19 shots is needed.

“We don’t know when it will happen; I hope very much that it won’t be within six months, like this time, and that the third dose will last for longer,” he said in an interview with Radio 103FM.

 


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