Israel began its delivery of more than 1 million doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine to the Palestinian Authority on Friday that are set to expire soon.
“An agreement was reached today, according to which the State of Israel will transfer to the Palestinian Authority between 1 million and 1.4 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine presently in stock in Israel,” said a release from Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office.
The statement said that the arrangement was made as a result of Israel currently having a “sufficient quantity” of vaccines to meet its current needs.
“Israel today agreed to a deal to transfer 1.2 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to the Palestinian Authority. We will continue to find effective ways to cooperate for the benefit of people in the region,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid wrote on Twitter.
The Israel Defense Forces COGAT, which handles civilian affairs with the Palestinians, has been working with the P.A. for weeks to sign a deal. The first delivery of 100,000 Pfizer vaccines was transferred on Friday.
Hand to hand: A first delivery of 100,000 Pfizer vaccines was transferred today by Israel to the Palestinian Authority. Over 1 million vaccines are scheduled to be transferred.
📸 Min of Health/Cogat pic.twitter.com/K0sI6spTC5
— Alon Ushpiz (@AlonUshpiz) June 18, 2021
According to Palestinian officials, some 30 percent of eligible Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have received at least one vaccine dose, Reuters reported. This figure includes more than 100,000 Palestinian workers vaccinated under the auspices of the Jewish state who come into regular contact with Israelis at their workplaces.
Nevertheless, Israel has come under fire from critics for not doing more to help vaccinate Palestinians. Israel has maintained that under the Oslo Accords, the Palestinians are responsible for immunizations. The P.A. has also received vaccines under COVAX, the global vaccine program.