Israel is starting to vaccinate, but Palestinians may have to wait months

Suhad Saidam adjusts one of her face masks on a youth at her sewing workshop in Gaza City, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. (photo: Adel Hana / AP)
Both the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a growing gap between rich and poor countries could keep vaccines from the West Bank and Gaza as the virus surges.

By Steve Hendrix and Shira Rubin |  The Washington Post  |  Dec 18, 2020

‘Israel bears moral and humanitarian responsibility for vaccinating the Palestinian population under its control,’
— Physicians for Human Rights appeal 

JERUSALEM — Israel, like many high-income countries, is moving quickly to roll out newly approved coronavirus vaccines, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scheduled to get the symbolic first shot Saturday. But next door in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the prospects for vaccinating almost 5 million Palestinians are far less certain, as financial, political and logistical hurdles could delay inoculations against the raging pandemic for months.

The split highlights not only the tense disparities between Israel and the Palestinian populations it effectively controls, but the growing divergence between vaccine haves and have-nots as the world enters the pandemic endgame.

The United States, Britain, Russia and other developed countries have already begun administering vaccines to health-care workers, the elderly and other priority groups. Other nations are receiving shipments now.

But poorer populations could be waiting much longer. Internal World Health Organization documents leaked this week warned that vaccines might not reach some countries until 2024, a delay that could hamper global efforts to contain the virus.

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