Coronavirus: Israel to vaccinate 100,000 Palestinian workers

Written by on February 19, 2021

The decision came after a meeting between Health Ministry officials on both sides.

An Israeli security guard walks as Palestinian workers wait to cross into Barkan industrial zone that is adjacent to the settlement of Barkan, in the West Bank October 9, 2018 (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)

An Israeli security guard walks as Palestinian workers wait to cross into Barkan industrial zone that is adjacent to the settlement of Barkan, in the West Bank October 9, 2018

(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)

The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry announced on Friday that it has struck a deal with the Israeli Health Ministry to vaccinate 100,000 Palestinians who work in Israel. 

The agreement was announced after senior Health Ministry officials visited Ramallah on Friday and met with their Palestinian counterparts to evaluate the situation there in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Understanding that Israel and the Palestinians live in one area and that an outbreak of COVID-19 among the Palestinian Authority may also affect the infection rate among Israeli residents, senior ministry officials visited with the PA Health Ministry and received a briefing on the coronavirus situation in the PA, morbidity data and the epidemiological investigations that are taking place,” the ministry said in a statement.

The visit included Health Ministry Director-General Chezy Levy, Head of Public Health Services Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis and Coronavirus Commissioner Prof. Nachman Ash.

It is extremely rare for Israeli officials to go to Ramallah for a meeting.

The visit came against the backdrop of reports Thursday that the Health Ministry would provide Palestinian workers with the Moderna coronavirus vaccine.

Israel received a shipment of around 100,000 Moderna vaccines earlier this year but has yet to distribute them, according to a spokesperson in the Health Ministry. Rather, the vaccines have been sitting at the logistics unit of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries near Ben-Gurion Airport.

Some 5,000 were committed to the PA to inoculate its healthcare workers.

The Health Ministry did not release the details as to how these workers will get the jab.

The PA also said that the Palestinians and Israelis agreed to continue cooperation to limit the spread of new strains of the coronavirus.

According to the World ‘O Meter website, the PA has had 171,154 cases of coronavirus and 1,956 deaths. 

Last Wednesday, Israel allowed 1,000 Sputnik V vaccines that had been donated by Russia to enter the Gaza Strip through the Erez Crossing, the Defense Ministry said.

The transfer had been held up due to internal debate in Israel as to whether the country should demand that Hamas release the two Israeli civilians it is holding hostage in Gaza and return the bodies of two Israelis soldiers before allowing the vaccines to enter.

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