The Pfizer vaccines, which the Palestinian Authority (PA) rejected on Friday due to the fact that they were near their expiration date, were identical to those given to citizens inside Israel, the country’s Health Ministry said.
Earlier this week, the two sides agreed that Israel would transfer its short-dated doses of the US-made jab to the occupied West Bank so that the PA could accelerate its lagging vaccination campaign. In exchange, the Jewish state was to receive fresh ampules of the vaccine that Pfizer had been scheduled to deliver to Palestine this autumn.
But after receiving the first delivery of some 90,000 doses from Israel on Friday, the Palestinian Authority called off the deal over claims that the vaccines didn’t meet technical specifications and that “their expiry date was too close.” On Saturday, the Israeli Health Ministry said that it was surprised by the Palestinian move. The doses of the immunization that were sent to the PA were “perfectly sound” and “identical in every way to the vaccines currently being given to citizens of Israel,” it insisted.
The ministry didn’t see a problem in the fact that those vaccines were to expire in late June as the manufacturer deems them perfectly safe for use. The rest of the doses involved in the deal were good until the end of July. It also claimed that the Palestinians were well aware of the expiration dates before the delivery. “We hope that the vaccination campaign in the Palestinian Authority will begin soon,” the Health Ministry said.
The news of the initial deal stirred up controversy among Palestinians, who generally don’t trust Israel. Some feared that potentially subpar vaccines could end up damaging their health instead of providing protection against the coronavirus.
lol no. this is 1st shipment of 1 million+ pfizer vaccines that are almost expired. israel giving it to palestinian non-authority in exchange for a brand new vaccine shipment slated to be shipped to Palestinians this September directly from pfizer. read that again. https://t.co/d7Q3xZT72p— Dalia (@TheBlahDalia) June 18, 2021