Gaza receives 20,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses from UAE

Days of Palestine - Gaza

Around 20,000 coronavirus vaccine doses from the UAE arrived in Gaza Sunday, a delivery reportedly orchestrated by a rival of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, Mohammad Dahlan, who is based in the Gulf state, three months before scheduled Palestinian elections, Reuters reported. 

The Russian-made Sputnik V doses entered Gaza via the Rafah crossing with Egypt, AFP journalists said -- meaning they did not pass through Israel, which has maintained a tight blockade on Gaza since 2007.

Read More: Hamas: Israeli ban the entry of coronavirus vaccine to Gaza is collective punishment

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.

Read More: Israel bans the entry of coronavirus vaccine to Gaza

"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.

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