A government statement had acknowledged the vaccines “will expire soon” but it was not clear exactly how much time remained for Palestinian health authorities to administer the doses before expiration.
According to Reuters, Alkaila said Israel had told the PA the vaccines expired in July or August, but it turned out the true date was June.
As part of the agreed arrangement, a shipment of Pfizer vaccines intended for the PA later in the year was to have been transferred to Israel instead. The PA says it is now calling on Pfizer to speed up that shipment to Palestinians, as per the original contract.
Israel’s leaders won considerable international acclaim for the country’s highly successful rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations to its population of 9 million earlier in the year.
But they were criticized for failing to provide vaccines to cover Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, which under the Geneva Conventions Israel is obliged to do.
Israel argued that it was relieved of those obligations by the Oslo Accords, signed by Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the 1990s, which allocate responsibility for medical care provision to the Palestinian Authority.
Amper 450,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have received a Covid-19 vaccine so far, according to PA figures, of whom just over 270,000 have received two doses. The two territories have a population of between 4.5 miljoen en 5 miljoen mense.