Coronavirus: Palestinians decry ‘favoritism’ in PA vaccinations

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The call came in response to allegations that vaccines that arrived in the West Bank were being distributed “outside the framework of a clear and published plan.”

A Palestinian health worker prepares a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine in Gaza City February 22, 2021.  (photo credit: REUTERS)

A Palestinian health worker prepares a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine in Gaza City February 22, 2021.

(photo credit: REUTERS)

Palestinian civil society organizations on Monday called for the formation of a commission of inquiry into the Palestinian Authority’s handling of the distribution of coronavirus vaccines.

The call came in response to allegations that vaccines in the West Bank were being distributed “outside the framework of a clear and published plan.”

Some Palestinians complained that the vaccines delivered to the PA were given only to a small number of people, including those with connections to the PA government.

Those who were “bypassing the rules” for the distribution of the vaccines should be held responsible by the commission of inquiry, the civil society organizations said.

They stressed the need for the PA to be transparent in its management of the pandemic to avoid problems that may arise during the distribution of the vaccines, including favoritism and abuse of power.

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“The government’s current approach of ignoring demands to adhere to the principle of transparency of information related to the vaccine’s distribution plan and its failure to publish the names of those who received the vaccine will pave the way for favoritism,” the organizations said in a statement.

“The government’s failure to publish the details of the vaccine procurement process, the supplier companies, the details of the budgets and the dates set for receiving it, and the continued inconsistency in information and statements, indicates the weakness of the process of managing the fight against COVID-19,” they said.

The “unorganized distribution of the vaccines and the absence of a clear plan will have severe repercussions on Palestinian society,” the organizations warned.

They urged PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh to form a special committee of experts to develop a vaccine distribution plan based on clear criteria and accurate databases and publish all information related to contracts for the purchase of vaccines.

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