Israel to vaccinate Palestinian labourers against COVID-19

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

  

JERUSALEM- Israel will administer COVID-19 vaccines to Palestinians who work in Israel or in its settlements in the occupied West Bank, 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.

He said Palestinian medical teams would be stationed at checkpoints to administer the vaccines, by agreement with Israeli authorities.

Israel has given at least one dose of the Pfizer Inc vaccine to more than half of its 9.3 million population, including Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

But it has come under international criticism for not doing more to enable vaccination of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, territories that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

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

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

(Writing by Dan Williams and Rami Ayyub; Editing by Kevin Liffey) ((dan.williams@thomsonreuters.com; +972 (0) 2 6322202; Reuters Messaging: dan.williams.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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