The Palestinian Authority has approved the use of the Sputnik-5 COVID vaccine developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, according to a press release from the Russian Direct Investment Fund published Monday by the Interfax news agency.

The RDIF said that the P.A. had expedited approval of the Russian vaccine without conducting additional clinical trials. Representatives of the RDIF also said that similar expedited approval processes had been conducted in Argentina, Bolivia, Serbia and Algeria. The vaccine has also been approved for use in Belarus.

According to the press release, shipments of the Sputnik-5 vaccine were slated to be delivered to the P.A. in the first quarter of this year, and the first doses were scheduled to arrive by the end of January. The vaccines for the P.A. will be procured by the RDIF, India, China, South Korea and other countries, noted the RDIF.

Last week, Israel Hayom reported that pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca had negotiated with P.A. Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh for the supply of enough of its own vaccine to inoculate the entire Palestinian population in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip—some 4 million doses. The P.A. is slated to receive another million or so doses from the international COVAX initiative, which pools resources to ensure that poor countries can secure vaccines.

According to the terms of the P.A.’s deal with AstraZeneca, the nations that donate to the P.A. will underwrite the entire cost of the vaccine purchase, estimated at tens of millions of dollars.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.


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