AFP / Gaza City
A first batch of coronavirus vaccines, enough to inoculate 1,000 people, arrived in Gaza yesterday, Palestinian and Israeli officials said, after Israel blocked a shipment earlier this week.
The Israeli military department responsible for civil affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories (COGAT) said 1,000 Sputnik “vaccines” had been sent to the coastal enclave, which has been under Israeli blockade since 2007.
The Palestinian Authority, which controls the occupied West Bank, and Hamas, which runs Gaza, later clarified that the shipment comprised 1,000 two-dose sets of the vaccine.
“Shipments of 1,000 Sputnik vaccines, donated by Russia and allocated by the Palestinian Authority to the Gaza Strip, have now moved to the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom crossing,” a COGAT statement said.
The PA health ministry said that the initial consignment was for “medical staff working in intensive care rooms designated for Covid-19 patients, and for the staff working in emergency departments.”
Hamas confirmed it had received the vaccines which were now being “transported to the ministry’s storage sites in Gaza City.”
The PA received an initial supply of Sputnik V earlier this month and has launched a campaign to inoculate frontline healthcare workers in the West Bank.
The PA, which is dominated by President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement, has said it will share its supply with Hamas.
Israel has enforced a crippling blockade on Gaza since Hamas took power and blocked an initial shipment of Sputnik V from entering the territory on Monday.
The PA called on the World Health Organisation Tuesday to “condemn Israel” for its obstruction and urged it “to hold (Israel) fully responsible for the dangers arising from preventing the entry of vaccines into the Gaza Strip.”
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