Palestinian COVID vaccine plan faces large funding gap: World Bank

(REUTERS): The World Bank today (Monday) has said that the Palestinian COVID vaccination plan faces a $30 million funding shortfall, even after factoring in support from a global vaccine scheme.

“In order to ensure there is an effective vaccination campaign, Palestinian and Israeli authorities should coordinate in the financing, purchase and distribution of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines,” the bank said.

The World Bank further said that Israel could perhaps consider donating surplus doses to the Palestinians to help accelerate a vaccine roll-out in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

“Cost estimates suggest that a total of about $55 million would be needed to cover 60 percent of the population, of which there is an existing gap of $30 million,” the World Bank said, calling for additional donor help.

As per details, the Palestinian Authority has planned to cover 20 percent of the population through the COVAX vaccine-sharing programme. The officials hope to procure additional vaccines to achieve 60 percent coverage.

The Palestinians began vaccinations this month and have received small donations from Israel, Russia and the United Arab Emirates. However, the roughly 32,000 doses received to date fall far short of the 5.2 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

Meanwhile, Palestinians and rights groups have accused Israel of ignoring its duties as an occupying power by not including the Palestinians in its inoculation programme.

Israeli officials have said that under the Oslo peace accords, the PA health ministry is responsible for vaccinating people in Gaza and parts of the West Bank where it has limited self-rule.