Israel to send Palestinians 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, same number to be returned later this year

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TEL AVIV: Israel will give about 1 million soon-to-expire doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to the Palestinian Authority (PA), Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said on Friday (Jun 18). 

In a joint statement with the health and defence ministries, Bennett’s office said the PA in exchange had agreed to give Israel a reciprocal number of doses from one of its own shipments expected to arrive later this year. 

Israel has reopened after vaccinating about 85 per cent of its adult population. This week, authorities lifted the requirement to wear masks in public, one of the last remaining restrictions. 

But the country has faced criticism for not sharing its vaccines with 4.5 million Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. 

The PA has said it is acquiring its own supplies through agreements with private companies and a World Health Organization programme designed to aid needy countries.

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