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Palestinian Authority calls off vaccine exchange with Israel

The Palestinian Authority on Friday backed out of a vaccine exchange program with Israel, saying the doses it was receiving were expiring too quickly and that the doses were not up to par. 

''After medical and technical teams received and inspected the first batch, and it was found that the doses did not conform to the technical specifications as previously agreed upon, and that their expiry date was close,'' said the Health Minister Mai Alkaila, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa. ''Hence, we reached out to Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh, and a decision was made to cancel the deal.''

 

According to Reuters, the health minister told reporters on Friday that they were initially told that the vaccines being delivered would expire in July or August. They later found out the expiration date was in June.

Wafa reported that Palestine returned the first batch of doses to Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's office, in a joint statement with the defense and health ministries, announced earlier on Friday that Israel had signed an agreement with the Palestinian Authority to provide a million doses of the Pfizer vaccine set to expire soon in exchange for doses that Palestinian officials would provide Israel later this year.

"The arrangement was approved in light of the fact that Israel has a sufficient quantity of vaccines to meet all of its current needs," Bennett said in a statement.

The Hill has reached out to the Israeli Prime Minister's and Palestinian Prime Minister's offices for comment.

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