Palestinians Expand Vaccination Drive After Getting More Shots

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The Palestinian Authority started the mass rollout of its coronavirus vaccination campaign on Sunday, opening up inoculations to medical workers, the elderly and at-risk residents, according to the government-run Wafa news agency.

While neighboring Israel outpaced the world in giving out shots, thanks to a special agreement with Pfizer Inc., the Palestinians’ effort lagged as they awaited shipments. Israel faced criticism for not doing more to help vaccinate the millions of Palestinians under its control, and recently began inoculating some Palestinians who work inside Israel and West Bank settlements.

Last week, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah said it was receiving shipments of 37,440 doses from Pfizer, and 24,000 from AstraZeneca Plc. provided by a World Health Organization-backed program. Those doses were transferred to both the West Bank and Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said more shipments are expected including from China, Russia and AstraZeneca, according to Wafa. On Saturday there were 1,940 new virus cases in the West Bank and 307 in Gaza.

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