a US donations of 500,000 doses of a Covid-19 vaccine reached the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip on Tuesday, as Palestinian officials work to boost uptake and counter the surge in new cases by requiring some workers to get the vaccine.
Palestinians began giving the vaccines in February, but despite buying or receiving what officials described as “abundant doses,” uptake stopped at only 35 percent of eligible Palestinians in the West Bank, and about 11 percent in Gaza.
Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh, whose Palestinian Authority has limited self-rule in the West Bank, said on Monday that unvaccinated public sector employees would be given unpaid leave, with immediate effect.
Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman Iyad al-Bozoum wrote on Twitter that the Islamist group Hamas, which rules Gaza, is asking all workers and service providers to receive the vaccine by September 1.
With the US donating 500,000 doses of Moderna, which was facilitated through the global COVAX Vaccine Sharing Program, Palestinians say they have now received 2.5 million doses. The West Bank will receive 300,000 donations, and Gaza will receive 200,000.