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World Israel postpones roll-out of COVID vaccine to Palestinian workers

09:56  06 march  2021
09:56  06 march  2021 Source:   aljazeera.com

Israel freezes plan to send vaccines to foreign allies

  Israel freezes plan to send vaccines to foreign allies Controversial plan to ship surplus coronavirus vaccines to a group of allied nations frozen amid legal challenge.It was the latest twist in a saga that has raised questions at home about Netanyahu’s decision-making authority, as well as his move to help far-flung nations in Africa and Latin America at a time when the neighbouring occupied Palestinian territories are struggling to secure their own vaccine supplies.

Israel says it is postponing until further notice plans to administer COVID vaccinations to Palestinians who work inside the country and in its settlements in the occupied West Bank.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Palestinian labourers, who were not able to cross into Israel for work, gather near an Israeli checkpoint [File: Mussa Qawasma/Reuters] © Palestinian labourers, who were not able to cross into Israel for work, gather near an Israeli check... Palestinian labourers, who were not able to cross into Israel for work, gather near an Israeli checkpoint [File: Mussa Qawasma/Reuters]

COGAT, the Israeli military branch responsible for civil affairs in the Palestinian territories, had last week confirmed that the COVID vaccination drive had “been approved by the political echelon”.

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The announcement was confirmed by the Palestinian Authority who said it had reached an agreement with Israel that would see the country vaccinate 100,000 Palestinian workers.

But COGAT on Friday announced a postponement which it attributed to “administrative delays,” saying that a new start for the campaign would be determined at a later time.

The inoculation drive was supposed to begin on Sunday at West Bank crossings into Israel and at Israeli industrial zones.

Such inoculations could have assuaged criticism of Israel for not sharing significant amounts of its COVID vaccine stockpiles with Palestinians living under Israeli control in the West Bank and those in the Gaza Strip – even as Israel succeeded in launching one of the fastest vaccine roll-outs in the world.

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Israel had also announced plans to share surplus vaccines with far-flung allies in Africa, Europe and Latin America, but the decision was frozen by legal questions.

On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with leaders of Denmark and Austria said the three nations would join forces in the fight against COVID-19 with an investment in research and the roll-out of vaccines.

Some 100,000 Palestinian labourers from the West Bank work in Israel. The PA had acquired enough doses for only 6,000 of its people – meaning the vast majority of the estimated five million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will remain unvaccinated.

The West Bank was placed under new restrictive measures last week to curb the surge in infections.

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Facebook critics say the anti-vaccination communities that have flourished on the platform are fueling Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy.Facebook’s big push is meant to help bring an end to a pandemic that has killed more than 2.5 million people around the world. But for some of the people who have for years been sounding the alarm about the dangers of anti-vaccine groups and pages on Facebook and Instagram, the announcement — even if it’s a step forward — feels like too little, too late.

usr: 0
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