Palestinian authorities denounced on Monday that Israel is blocking access to COVID-19 vaccines to Gaza.
“Today, 2,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine were transferred to enter the Gaza Strip, but the occupation authorities prevented their entry,” Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila said in a statement.
“These doses were intended for medical staff working in intensive care rooms designated for Covid-19 patients, and staff working in emergency departments,” the official added.
The Palestinian Authority (PA), which governs parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, explained that it tried to send 2,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine to the Gaza Strip as the territory, home to about 2 million Palestinians, has not received any vaccines yet.
Although the Israeli government has not commented on the prohibition, news agencies such as Reuters, AP, and AFP said that COGAT, “the Israeli authority that runs civilian affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories,” confirmed that the PA had asked for authorization to carry the vaccines but “this request is waiting for a political decision.”
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Israel insisted that the immunization of Palestinians is the responsibility of the PA. However, since it occupies its territory, the international community has mostly criticized Israel for this position noting that it has is a legal obligation to provide the vaccines.
After growing pressure, which included the United Nations, Israel sent the PA only 5 000 doses to be administered in the West Bank in early February.
Source: The Palestine Chronicle