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Israel ships first batch of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Palestinians

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Israel says it has shipped the first batch of the Moderna vaccine to the Palestinians.

The unit for Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, or COGAT, said Monday that it coordinated a first shipment of 2,000 doses out of 5,000 doses for use by medical teams under the Palestinian Authority.

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The transfer at Beituniya Crossing took place a day after Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s office announced the vaccinations had been approved for Palestinians. Israel is leading one of the world’s most successful vaccination campaigns after securing millions of doses from major drug makers Pfizer and Moderna.

The World Health Organization had raised concerns about the disparity between Israel and Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. International human rights groups and UN experts have said Israel is responsible for the well being of Palestinians in these areas.

Israel denies it has such an obligation, citing the interim peace agreements reached in the 1990s.

The Palestinians have not publicly requested vaccines from Israel and have said they are seeking their own supplies elsewhere.

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