The Israeli Ministry of Health has approved the import of 5,000 units of Sputnik V vaccine for the Palestinian Authority, according to Israeli media.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) is expected to receive a first shipment of 5,000 units of Russia’s main COVID-19 vaccine known as Sputnik V on Tuesday, an Israeli official said.
The shipment is to be brought by a Palestinian Authority delegate to the occupied West Bank via Jordan, the official said on condition of anonymity, adding that the import had been approved by Israel’s health ministry.
According to the local Palestinian news agency Maan, Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh – who was in Russia for an official visit – will cross Allenby’s land border on Tuesday with the vaccines.
In December, Palestinian officials announced that they had signed an agreement with Russia for four million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine.
Palestinian Authority Health Minister Mai al-Kaila last week issued an “emergency approval” for the administration of Sputnik in areas where Palestinians exercise limited autonomy.
‘Equitable access to the vaccine’
While the speed at which Israel vaccinated its citizens was widely publicized with fanfare, criticism was also leveled at the government for failing to provide vaccines to the more than 4.5 million Palestinians it occupies in the West Bank and the the Gaza Strip.
On Monday, Human Rights Watch called on Israel to fulfill its responsibilities, which are enshrined in the Fourth Geneva Convention.
These duties, along with Israel’s obligations under international human rights law, include the provision of medical supplies and the provision of vaccines in a non-discriminatory manner to Palestinians living under its control.
Israel has so far succeeded in immunizing 20% of its citizens, including Jewish settlers living in the occupied West Bank.
“Nothing can justify the reality of today in parts of the West Bank, where people on one side of the street get vaccines, while those on the other don’t, depending on who they are. Jews or Palestinians, ”said Omar Shakir, Israel and director of Palestine at Human Rights Watch.
“Everyone in the same territory should have equitable access to the vaccine, regardless of their ethnicity.”