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Gaza to receive first covid vaccines today

2000 doses of the Russian Sputnik vaccine arrived in the Gaza Strip [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
2000 doses of the Russian Sputnik vaccine arrived in the Gaza Strip [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

The besieged Gaza Strip is due to receive its first batch of coronavirus vaccines today after Israel approved the delivery.

Gaza will receive 1,000 doses of Russia's Sputnik V inoculation from the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the occupied West Bank via Israel.

"This morning, an amount of 1,000 Sputnik vaccines donated by Russia, is being transferred from the Palestinian Authority to the Gaza Strip," an Israeli security official said. The shipment is expected to arrive later on Wednesday.

The move has come under criticism from some Israeli officials who have called on authorities to condition the transfer of the vital medication on the release of Israeli prisoners of war held in the besieged Gaza Strip.

During a debate at the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee (FADC), Israeli officials insisted that no vaccine should be offered to the two million Palestinians unless two Israelis who are believed to be held by Hamas are released and the remains of two soldiers who lost their lives during the 2014 Israeli onslaught on Gaza are returned. Some 2,251 Palestinians, including 1,462 civilians were killed by the Zionist state during the seven-week Israeli bombardment.

READ: Israel may condition offering vaccine to Palestinians on release of prisoners

On Monday, a planned shipment of 2,000 doses of the vaccine was blocked by the occupation state, with Israel saying at the time the national security department had not decided whether or not to allow inoculations into Gaza.

"These doses were intended for medical staff working in intensive care rooms designated for Covid-19 patients, and for staff working in emergency departments," PA Minister of Health, Mai Al-Kaila, said in a statement.

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