The Palestinian Authority’s Health Minister Mai Al-Kaila confirmed on Thursday that her government had purchased two million doses of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V which are expected to arrive in the PA between February 14 and 20, enough to vaccinate one million people. The vaccines will be shipped through Ben Gurion Airport, after an attempt to import them from Jordan across the Allenby Bridge had been canceled.
Alkaila also said that 10,000 doses of the Russian vaccine are expected to arrive today in the PA, enough to vaccinate 5,000 people.
Donations from friendly countries and institutions, as well as Palestinian communities abroad, are also expected in the near future, the Health Minister said.
Alkaila said the priority in vaccinations will be given to medical staff, the elderly, and people with chronic diseases. The vaccination will be given in about 45 centers throughout the PA and the and Gaza Strip.
According to TASS, the Sputnik V vaccine has already been registered in Russia, Belarus, Argentina, Bolivia, Serbia, Algeria, the PA, Venezuela, Paraguay, Turkmenistan, Hungary, the UAE, Iran, the Republic of Guinea, Tunisia, and Armenia.
On February 2, The Lancet medical journal published the results of Phase Three of the clinical trials of the Russian vaccine, concluding it is one of the safest and the most effective worldwide. The article, “Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine candidate appears safe and effective,” explains that the Russian vaccine uses a heterologous recombinant adenovirus approach using adenovirus 26 (Ad26) and adenovirus 5 (Ad5) as vectors for the expression of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein. The use of two varying serotypes, which are given 21 days apart, is intended to overcome any pre-existing adenovirus immunity in the population. Among the major COVID vaccines in development to date, only Gam-COVID-Vac uses this approach; others, such as the Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine, use the same material for both doses.
On February 3, Lancet published “Safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine (CoronaVac) in healthy adults aged 60 years and older: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 1/2 clinical trial,” found that the CoronaVac, a.k.a. Sinovac, produced in Beijing, China, is also safe and well-tolerated in older adults.
The Lancet is a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal, among the world’s oldest and best-known general medical journals. It was founded in 1823 by Thomas Wakley, an English surgeon who named it after the surgical instrument lancet (scalpel).