According to recent reports, the Palestinian Authority has cancelled a deal where Israel would transfer nearly 1 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to be used by the PA to vaccinate Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

In exchange, Israel would get a similar number of vaccines originally meant to go to Palestinians, shipped directly from Pfizer to Israel in the fall.

It is important to clarify that these are vaccines Israel has on hand but does not need, many with expiration dates at the end of June or early July. The PA would then have only a week or two to use the vaccines before they would be of questionable effectiveness.

Given the severe restrictions of movement in and between occupied West Bank towns and villages imposed by Israel, and the complete locked-in situation in Gaza, implementing a vaccine campaign within the expiration time limit is a near impossibility for Palestinian health organizations already hampered by insufficient funding and personnel as well as limitations on travel for patients and staff.

So the Israeli government gives away nearly-expired doses of vaccine they don’t need to the occupied Palestinians that cannot use them before they expire. Good PR for Israel, which has come under heavy international criticism for neglecting its responsibility to make vaccines available to Palestinians who are under Israeli military occupation.

And the vaccines Israel would have gotten in return for the about-to-expire doses given to Palestinians would be factory fresh. Nice deal.

Donna Joss, Bridgton

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