dpa/GNA,- The Gaza Strip received its first batch of vaccines against Covid-19 on Wednesday, health officials in Gaza said.
Two thousand doses – or enough to vaccinate 1,000 people – of the Sputnik V vaccine, donated by Russia, were transferred by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to the Islamist Hamas movement in Gaza, with Israel’s approval, an Israeli security official confirmed.
The transfer was made via the Kerem Shalom crossing between the south-eastern Gaza Strip and Israel.
Majdi Dhair, director of health care in the Hamas-run Health Ministry said on Wednesday that the delivery came following international pressure on Israel, mainly by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Palestinian officials previously reported a delay in the transfer due to a hold-up with approval from Israel.
Medical teams, the elderly and people with chronic diseases are in the first priority group.
Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) launched its Covid-19 vaccination campaign earlier this month, using 2,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine delivered to the West Bank by Israel, which started its mass vaccination campaign six weeks earlier and was criticized for not including the Palestinians in the occupied territories.
Israel argued that under interim peace deals, the PA was responsible for health care in areas under its control.
The Palestinian government purchased 2 million doses of vaccines.
The West Bank, home to nearly 3 million Palestinians, has seen 1,404 Covid-19 related deaths, while the Gaza Strip, home to some 2 million Palestinians, has seen 526 Covid-19 related deaths.