Israel says supplied first COVID-19 vaccines to Palestinians

FILE PHOTO: Vials labelled "COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine" are placed on dry ice in this illustration
·1 min read

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Israel said on Monday it supplied the Palestinians with their first shipment of COVID-19 shots, totalling 2,000 doses of Moderna's vaccine.

The vaccines were transferred into the occupied West Bank and will be used by Palestinian Authority medical teams, according to a statement by COGAT, Israel's military liaison to the Palestinians.

Palestinian officials declined to confirm or deny the delivery.

Israel has earmarked an additional 3,000 doses for the Palestinians, said a COGAT spokesman.

Israel has emerged as a world leader in vaccinating its citizens and the Palestinian Authority has separately been trying to secure its own doses. It has ordered a batch of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine.

The Palestinians will also be receiving upwards of 35,000 to 40,000 vaccines from the COVAX global vaccine sharing programme in the coming weeks, a World Health Organization official said on Monday.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war. Palestinians seek the territory for an independent state they hope to set up in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

(Reporting by Ali Sawafta and Nidal al-Mughrabi, additional reporting by Aidan Lewis in Cairo; editing by Nick Macfie)