The Palestinian Authority announced Friday night that it has rejected a shipment from Israel of 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and that it would cancel the entire deal to receive at least one million Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses.
The order was given by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.
The doses that were already transferred by Israel to the PA will be returned.
“The professional teams in the ministry found that the vaccines we received today from Israel did not meet the specifications, so the government decided to return them,” Palestinian Authority Health Minister Mai al-Kaila told media.
Israeli officials insisted the vaccine doses were fine, and should not be wasted; the Palestinian Authority claimed the expiration date on the vaccines — which were good until the end of this month and the end of July — was too close.
“The delivery of the vaccines that was transferred to the Palestinian Authority yesterday was completely normal,” the Health Ministry said Saturday night in a statement. “The Palestinian Ministry of Health received proper Pfizer vaccines, at expiration dates that were known, agreed upon and in accordance with the agreement between the parties,” the ministry said, according to the Hebrew-language Ynet site.
Israel sent those first so they would not be wasted, with the rest of the vaccine doses to be delivered with expiration dates good for several more months, Ynet reported.