China plans to partner with Cairo to donate half-a-million vaccines to Palestinians in Gaza that would be produced in Egypt.
According to a World Health Report published on July 15, 560,195 Palestinians have been vaccinated out of a population of over five million.
Out of those, 93,673 were Gaza Palestinians.
“These figures represent around 11% of the total Palestinian population,” the WHO reported. “Of these numbers, the total who have received their second dose are 398,324 in the OPT [occupied Palestinian territories - sic] overall (excluding east Jerusalem).”
The PA Health Ministry has a slightly higher number, counting 591,600 Palestinians who have received at least one dose, of which 102,000 are in Gaza. It estimates 415,00 Palestinians have received two doses.
Israel has one of the world’s highest vaccination rates in the world, with 64.8% of its population having received two doses. It embarked on a booster program on Sunday that offered a third protective shot to those over age 60.
The Palestinian Authority has lagged behind Israel in acquiring the vaccine, instead relying on the global United Nations-linked COVAX program that has pledged to provide it with a million vaccines by the end of the year.
Israel attempted to jump-start the PA program by offering one million Pfizer doses in exchange for receiving dozens it had purchased that are not expected to arrive until the fall.
The PA rejected the doses and questioned their viability because they were due to expire by the end of July.
Israel in the interim gave the one million Pfizer doses to South Korea.
China’s Ambassador to the UN Geng Shuang told the UN Security Council last week that his country would “provide Palestine with much-needed assistance on the existing basis, and donate another one million doses of vaccines to the Palestinian side. China will also partner with Egypt, and use the vaccine bottling factory in Egypt jointly established by the two countries to donate half a million doses of vaccines to Palestinians in Gaza.”
Vaccines produced in Egypt could enter Gaza directly through the crossing between the two countries at Rafa. Approval would not be needed from Israel.
China along with Russia, which has also provided vaccines to the Palestinians, wants to be more involved in attempts to resolve the Israeli-Palestine conflict.
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.