RAMALLAH, Friday, June 18, 2021 (WAFA) – The Palestinian Government announced today its cancellation of a previous agreement with Israel concerning the transfer of one million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from Israel to the Palestinians. The cancellation came after the government found the doses fall short of meeting the technical criteria.
‘‘After the technical teams of the Ministry of Health examined the first batch of the Pfizer vaccines that were received this evening from Israel, estimated at 90,000 doses, it was found that they do not conform to the specifications contained in the agreement, and accordingly Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh instructed the Minister of Health to cancel the agreement,’’ said government spokesman Ibrahim Melhem at a joint press conference with Minister of Health Mai Alkaila.
He added that the first batch of the cancelled deal were returned to Israel.
‘‘The Prime Minister has confirmed that the government refuses to receive vaccines that are about to expire, as announced by the Israeli government spokesman. Accordingly, the government is waiting for the vaccines to be supplied directly from the parent company in batches according to the agreement concluded with it regarding direct purchase,’’ added Melhem.
Meantime, Alkaila said that since the first day of the understandings with Israel concerning the transfer of Pfizer doses from Israel to Palestine, it was made clear the Israeli side that these vaccines shall conform to all specifications and conditions of validity and safety.
‘‘After medical and technical teams received and inspected the first batch, and it was found that the doses did not conform to the technical specifications as previously agreed upon, and that their expiry date was close,’’ said the Health Minister. ‘‘Hence, we reached out to Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, and a decision was made to cancel the deal.’’
She affirmed that the government will continue to exert pressure on Pfizer in order to obtain the vaccines purchased as soon as possible
Earlier today, Minister of Health Mai Alkaila said that Palestine had received an offer from Pfizer to urgently obtain about one million Pfizer COVID-19 doses from Israel, provided that the manufacturer, at the end of this year, will hand over the same amount to the Israeli side that was initially supposed to be allocated to Palestine prior to the aforementioned Pfizer offer.