Palestinians vaxxed in the territories receive Israeli Green Passes

Israel vaccinated around 120,000 Palestinian workers in March - 90,000 who work in Israel and the rest in Judea and Samaria - with two shots of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine.

Palestinians make their way through the Israeli Qalandia checkpoint to attend the second Friday prayer of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque, near the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 17, 2019 (photo credit: FLASH90)
Palestinians make their way through the Israeli Qalandia checkpoint to attend the second Friday prayer of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque, near the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 17, 2019
(photo credit: FLASH90)

Palestinian workers who are getting their COVID booster shots in the Palestinian territories are able to receive Green Passes on entry to Israel, a security official told The Jerusalem Post.

Israel vaccinated around 120,000 Palestinian workers – 90,000 who work in Israel and the rest in Judea and Samaria – in March with two shots of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine. But six months later, as Israel changed its definition of fully vaccinated and required Israelis and anyone else entering the country to receive a booster dose, these workers lost their passes.

Head of Public Health Services Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis said at the Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in October that workers who had received two doses more than six months prior could still enter Israel to work but “if they need to go to a Green Pass [establishment], they need to take an antigen test like people who are unvaccinated.”

The Health Ministry had decided to wait to administer a booster to people inoculated with Moderna vaccines until the US Food and Drug Administration weighed in on the matter.

The FDA has ruled that anyone who was vaccinated more than six months ago with any vaccine is eligible for a booster. In addition, the Moderna and Pfizer booster doses were approved by American regulators for all adults over the age of 18.

 Israel's Green Pass validity was extended until Thursday on Sunday after the Health Ministry 'traffic light' website crashed, October 3, 2021.  (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) Israel's Green Pass validity was extended until Thursday on Sunday after the Health Ministry 'traffic light' website crashed, October 3, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

However, while a spokesperson for the Health Ministry said that Israeli health officials were willing and ready to run another vaccination campaign and set up complexes to jab Palestinian workers, the security official said this would not be necessary because the Palestinians have enough vaccines of their own.

Palestinians living in the West Bank have “no shortage of vaccines,” he said. “Whoever wants to get vaccinated can get vaccinated.”

The Palestinians received millions of vaccine doses through the World Health Organization’s COVAX program, in addition to donations directly from friendly countries. Some of the vaccines were sent to the West Bank and others to Gaza.

The latest Reuters coronavirus tracker report, which was updated on November 25, showed that nearly three million doses of COVID vaccines have been administered so far, fully inoculating about a third of the eligible Palestinian population. At least 40% have received at least one dose, according to Reuters data.

A report published in August by The New York Times confirmed that the Palestinians had enough doses to administer but that the territories were struggling with “persuading a majority of the public to get the shots.”

Infection is currently relatively low in the territories, with less than 200 new daily infections being reported.

The security official explained that Israel is accepting all vaccinations, regardless of whether the shot is approved by the WHO or is a vaccine available in Israel, meaning that Palestinians can get their Green Passes if they are fully vaccinated with Sputnik V or one of the Chinese vaccines.

Some Palestinians still choose to be tested to receive entry, he said, but the process is complicated and at this stage accounts for very few workers.

“Anyone in the territories who wants to get vaccinated can,” he said. “The workers who want to enter Israel are doing it, of course. The situation is very good.”