Gaza received 20,000 doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine from the United Arab Emirates yesterday, a move secured by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' rival, Mohammad Dahlan, who is based in the Gulf state, Reuters reported.
Gaza health officials began rolling out the vaccine today, with priority for medical workers and those with chronic diseases. Many patients were contacted in advance and asked to give their consent.
The step by Dahlan, whom Abbas had dismissed from his Fatah party a decade ago and forced into exile, was seen by analysts as an attempt to score points ahead of a planned Palestinian election later this year.
"The shipment is a generous offer from the brotherly UAE," Dahlan, long considered a potential Abbas successor, said on Facebook. "We promise our people that we will exert every possible effort to secure more."
Gaza received its first 2,000 doses of Sputnik V on Thursday, sent by Abbas' government after Israeli occupation authorities approved the transfer through its border with the territory.
Gaza, an impoverished enclave of two million people, has registered more than 54,000 cases with 543 deaths.