Israel Vaccinating Palestinian Workers Against COVID-19

YERUSHALAYIM (REUTERS/Hamodia) -
A Palestinian health worker displays a box of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine sent by United Arab Emirates, in Gaza. (REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/File Photo)

Israel will administer COVID-19 vaccines to Palestinians who work in Israel or the Palestinian Authority areas, the Israeli liaison office COGAT said on Sunday.

The vaccination campaign, which could apply to around 130,000 Palestinians, will begin within days, COGAT said.

Shaher Saad, secretary-general of the Palestinian Workers’ Union, said thousands of Palestinians who work in the Israeli service and industrial sectors had already been vaccinated privately by their employers inside Israel.

The request was formally made by both the Israeli building contractors who employ most of the Palestinian workers and the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah.

He said that under the new Israeli program, Palestinian medical teams would be stationed at checkpoints to administer shots. Moderna’s vaccine will be used, COGAT said.

Israel has given at least one dose of Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine to more than half of its 9.3 million population, including Arab Israeli citizens and Palestinians in east Yerushalayim.

But it has come under international criticism for not doing more to enable vaccination of Palestinians.

The Palestinians have received around 32,000 vaccine doses to date, for the 5.2 million people who live in the territories.

Israeli officials have said that, under the Oslo peace accords, the Palestinian health ministry is responsible for vaccinating people in Gaza and other areas where it has limited self-rule.