Israel has informed Palestinian security prisoners that they will be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the next few days, Qadri Abu Baker, Director of the Palestinian Authority’s Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Commission, announced on Saturday.
Abu Baker told the PA news agency WAFA that the vaccination for the prisoners will not be compulsory. He revealed that some prisoners have expressed their desire to receive the vaccine.
He said the PA was planning to ask Israel to allow Palestinian or foreign doctors to supervise the vaccination.
The prisoners will receive the vaccine produced by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, he said.
Vaccines against COVID-19 will be available to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip within the next two weeks, Kamal al-Shakhra, a senior official with the PA Health Ministry said on Saturday.
The authority, he said, was in touch with the World Health Organization and the companies that produce the coronavirus vaccines to make sure that they are provided to the Palestinians as soon as possible.
Shakhra told the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station that it remains unclear which type of vaccine would be delivered to the Palestinians. He described the situation with the pandemic in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as “catastrophic,” mainly due to non-compliance with regulations to curb the spread of the disease.
The Health Ministry has been in contact with four companies regarding the purchase of vaccines, he said.
Earlier this month, the ministry said it expects to receive four million doses of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine in January.
PA Health Minister Mai al-kaila announced on Saturday that 21 Palestinians died in the past 24 hours from COVID-19. Twelve of the deaths were in the Gaza Strip, while the remaining nine were recorded in the West Bank, she said, adding that a total of 1,306 new cases had been discovered in the past 24 hours. The Gaza Strip recorded 792 new cases, while the West Bank had 514, al-kaila added.
According to the Health Ministry, some 1,406 Palestinians have died after contracting the coronavirus since the outbreak of the pandemic in March.