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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 1 March 2021

Inoculation programme officially begins in Gaza after delays at border

The densely populated enclave is home to two million Palestinians

Gaza initiated its Covid-19 vaccination programme, after 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.

While some Palestinian health workers have already received their vaccination doses, the campaign officially began on Monday when former Palestinian health minister Riyad Zanoun was publicly vaccinated in Gaza, following a global trend of public officials getting vaccinated in televised events, to increase confidence in the vaccine.

The Gaza health ministry sent out text messages to urge those eligible to come and get their shots.

"I am proud the health sector was able to overcome this difficult time, with limited resources but great dedication," said Mr Zanoun, after receiving his first dose.

Those vaccinated received instruction cards telling them to continue wearing face masks and practising social distancing.

Meanwhile, a World Bank report published on Monday said that the Palestinians' Covid19 vaccination programme faces a $30 million funding shortfall, even after factoring in support from a global vaccine scheme for poorer economies.

The Palestinian Authority plans to cover 20 per cent of Palestinians through the Covax vaccine-sharing programme. PA officials hope to procure additional vaccines to achieve 60 per cent coverage.

Local authorities said they had obtained 2,000 doses of vaccine from Israel on February 17, in addition to 20,000 doses of Russia's Sputnik V.

The roughly 32,000 doses received to date fall far short of covering the 5.2 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza strip.

Updated: February 22, 2021 05:27 PM

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