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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 26 February 2021

Gaza health authorities to launch inoculation programme on Monday

Palestinian authority health ministry in Ramallah sent 2,000 doses of the Russian vaccine to Gaza on Wednesday

Gaza geared up to start its Covid-19 vaccination programme on Monday.

It had been due to begin on Sunday, but was delayed while clinics waited for 20,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, donated by the UAE, to arrive.

The Palestinian Authority health ministry in Ramallah sent 2,000 doses of the vaccine to Gaza on Wednesday through the Kerem Shalom crossing with Egypt.

The vaccines arrived on Sunday evening after a delay due to bad weather.

“We received today the shipment of vaccines ... and will start the vaccination tomorrow in Gaza,” health official Dr Majdi Dahir told The National.

“We will start with medical teams, then with those with chronic illness and the elderly.”

Gaza’s health ministry said on Saturday that since the start of the pandemic, 54,270 cases were recorded there, 543 of whom died. At least 51,776 recovered in the enclave, which is controlled by Hamas.

Deputy health minister Dr Yousef Abu Alrish said that about 40 per cent of Gaza’s residents may have been infected with the coronavirus.

Palestinian authorities have eased pandemic restrictions lately and reopened schools and marketplaces.

Dr Ashraf Kalaja, 33, who works in the emergency department at Al Shifa hospital in Gaza city, said he would definitely take the vaccine if offered it.

“Since I deal directly with coronavirus patients and could be infected by the virus, I will take the vaccine, for sure,” he said.

“I encourage everyone above 45 years or has chronic disease or a weak immune system to take the vaccine. Also, I have encouraged my family to take it.”

Amani Nassrallah, who works for Gaza’s ministry of labour, registered herself and her family on My Health app launched by the health ministry. She is awaiting her turn.

“The vaccine is our only way to be protected from the virus,” she said.

But some people remain sceptical about the process.

“I will not take the vaccine because its side effects are not clear until now,” Randa Faisal, a mother of five, told The National.

Updated: February 21, 2021 11:06 PM

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