Palestinians cancel deal for near-expired pandemic vaccines from Israel

The Palestinian Authority has cancelled a deal under which Israel was to give it at least one million Covid vaccines. The authority said the Pfizer jabs were too close to their expiry date. Earlier, Israel said it didn’t need an ageing stock of vaccines and they were to be used to speed up the Palestinian vaccination programme.

In return, the Palestinians were to give Israel a similar number of vaccines they are expecting from the Pfizer organisation later in the year. However, when the first batch of jabs from Israel arrived, Palestinian officials said they were even nearer their expiry date than expected. They said there wasn’t enough time to use them, and that the deal was off. The PA said they had been “approved in order to speed up the vaccination process” in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. “They told us the expiration date was in July or August, which would allow lots of time for use,” PA Health Minister Mai Alkaila told reporters later on Friday. “But (the expiration) turned out to be in June. That’s not enough time to use them, so we rejected them,” she said. The PA cancelled the deal over the date issue, a PA spokesman said, and sent the initial shipment of around 90,000 doses back to Israel. The vaccine deal was among initial policy moves towards the Palestinians by Bennett, who was sworn in on Sunday and replaced veteran leader Benjamin Netanyahu.