If Israel ends up having a surplus of vaccines against the coronavirus it may well consider giving those extra doses to the Palestinians, Israeli Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch has said.

The Jewish state currently possesses more than 300,000 doses of the US-made vaccine from Pfizer and expects to have 3.8 million doses by end of December. The country is planning to begin vaccination of the general public next week.

“If we see Israel’s needs have been fulfilled and we have more capabilities, we will definitely also consider helping the Palestinian Authority,” Kisch said in an interview with broadcaster Kan. However, he added that “Israeli citizens will come first.”

“Israel is ensuring it has more than 100 percent of the vaccines for Israel,” the deputy minister pointed out.

Palestine has so far registered more than 116,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,048 deaths, with a local official describing the situation as a “health disaster” in an interview with the Times of Israel. Forty-one percent of recent Covid-19 tests have come back positive, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

In late November, the Palestinian ambassador to Moscow announced that talks were under way to purchase the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. But in order to be supplied to the State of Palestine, the drug needs to be approved by the Israeli Health Ministry.

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