The Palestinian Authority (PA) cancelled an agreement on Friday to accept over 1 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine from Israel. According to Haaretz, three other countries contacted the Israeli government to obtain the vaccine doses rejected by the PA. According to The Times of Israel, the PA had already received the first shipment of 100,000 doses when it rejected the aid.
The PA cited the expiration date of the first shipment of vaccines at the end of June, as the reason for rejecting all of the 1 million doses offered. The agreement specified that Israel would transfer Pfizer vaccines that are close to expiring to the PA. The PA would then reimburse the Israelis with a similar number of vaccines when it received the doses from Pfizer in September or October, according to the Associated Press.
Israel’s health ministry said the PA knew ahead of time that the first batch was close to expiring and that the vaccines are "perfectly sound." They added that the remaining vaccines will expire at the end of July. Despite the vaccine doses still being viable and from the same stock that Israel has used to vaccinate its own citizens, the PA broke off the vaccine deal after outcry from Palestinian citizens who claimed without evidence that the vaccines were expired.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Israel hoped that the agreement would also reduce on the chance of the coronavirus spreading among Israelis through the largely unvaccinated Palestinian population.
"The Palestinian Authority has lagged behind in their vaccination drive, largely because of a short supply and lack of health-services infrastructure. Of the nearly five million Palestinians living within the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, 445,412 have had at least one shot, or less than 9 percent of the population, the Palestinian Health Ministry said Friday. About 4.5 percent of that population has been fully vaccinated."
The PA’s decision to cancel the agreement will likely guarantee that the first shipment of 100,000 doses will expire rather than be used to inoculate the Palestinians. Israel remains optimistic of working out an agreement with the PA.