The Palestinians will receive 50,000 doses of vaccines against the coronavirus from several sources, including COVAX, one of the pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, launched last year by the World Health Organization, the European Commission and France, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced on Monday.
Shtayyeh, who was speaking at the beginning of the weekly meeting of the PA cabinet in Ramallah, said that the vaccination of Palestinians will start in mid-February.
The PA government will provide the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip with vaccines, he said.
He said that he expected the first shipment of vaccines that the PA government purchased would arrive at the end of February.
Shtayyeh’s announcement came as Israel began on Monday transferring vaccines to the Palestinians through the Betunia Crossing near Ramallah.
The first shipment of 2,000 vaccines is intended for medical teams. The rest of the expected total of 5,000 vaccines will reportedly be transferred to the Palestinians in three more shipments.
Shtayyeh and other Palestinian officials did not comment on the delivery of the vaccines from Israel to the Palestinians.
According to Shtayyeh, there has been a decline in the number of infected cases among the Palestinians. He said that there was also a big decline in the need for intensive care units and ventilators for patients.
Shtayyeh said, however, that due to the rise of cases infected by variants of the coronavirus, his government has recommended that the state of emergency in the West Bank be extended for another 30 days. In addition, he said, the Palestinian government has decided to extend the current lockdown and restrictions in the West Bank for another two weeks.