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Israel begins administering vaccines

Israel begins administering vaccines
© Getty Images

Israel began vaccinating its citizens on Sunday as coronavirus cases have slowly begun to rise again in the nation.

The Associated Press reports Israel hopes to vaccinate 60,000 people a day. Like many governments, the country has prioritized health care workers and the elderly for the first doses of the vaccine.

Israel has a deal with American pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna to secure 8 million and 6 million doses of their vaccines, respectively. Moderna’s vaccine was just approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday.

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Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, 81, was among the first to receive the vaccine. In a tweet, he wrote, “I got the corona vaccine. Dear Israelis, go and get vaccinated too.”

The AP notes that polls have indicated many Israelis are still unsure about getting the vaccine. Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE was the first Israeli to be vaccinated, receiving the dose on Saturday and saying he was setting a “personal example.”

Though Israel has begun its vaccine campaign, neighboring Palestine, like many low-income countries, may have to wait months before it receives doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

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Palestinian leaders have stated that they cannot afford the vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna. As The Washington Post notes, Pfizer's vaccine costs $20 per dose while Moderna's will cost even more. These leaders, along with international activists, have argued Israel is obligated to ensure that Palestinians receive vaccines.

“There is no responsibility, but it is in our interest to help as far as the coronavirus is concerned,” said Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein. “We’ve been doing it for the last year, with equipment and with medicine.”

However, Edelstein said if any vaccines were to be provided to Palestine, they would come after Israel had immunized its own population of 9 million.