In two words, Israel responds to the Palestinian rejection of the vaccine agreement
The Israeli Ministry of Health said today, Saturday, that the COVID-19 vaccines provided by Israel and rejected by the Palestinian Authority due to their expiry date were completely safe.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority announced a vaccine exchange agreement on Friday, under which Israel would send up to 1.4 million doses of the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for a similar number of doses later this year.
But immediately after the announcement, the Palestinian Authority canceled the agreement and returned the initial shipment of about 90,000 doses to Israel.
Palestinian Health Minister Mai Al-Kila said that the shipment showed that the validity date ends in June and not in July and August, as agreed.
"The vaccines that were transferred to the Palestinian Authority yesterday were completely safe," the Israeli Ministry of Health said in a statement.
She added that the dates were known and agreed upon by both parties.
"The vaccines that are being delivered to the Palestinians are identical in all respects to the vaccines that are currently being given to the citizens of Israel," she said.
About 30 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza who have no objections to receiving the vaccine have received at least one dose, according to Palestinian officials.
The Palestinians received vaccine doses from Israel, Russia, China, the UAE and the global Kovacs program, which aims to equitably distribute vaccines.
Many Palestinians expressed anger on social media at Friday's deal and criticized their leaders for accepting doses that are nearing their expiration date.
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