Shortages, distrust hamper coronavirus vaccination campaign in Gaza

Severe shortages and a lack of public trust in the coronavirus vaccine are hampering a nationwide immunization campaign in Gaza City that is under an Israeli blockade, officials said Wednesday.

Residents in Gaza are concerned about possible harm caused by that the vaccine, which is still in the trial phase.

Many Palestinians have abstained from receiving the vaccine, while others are eager to be vaccinated to protect against the deadly virus.

Mohammed Musa told Anadolu Agency that he wants to get vaccinated if given the opportunity to protect himself and his family from the virus.

But Ahmed Ali, 51, was hesitant. He said he is not ready to get vaccinated as of yet because he is afraid of possible side effects.

Gaza’s COVID-19 crisis

A total of 380 patients are currently under treatment at hospitals, including 280 in critical condition, Health Ministry spokesman Esref al-Kudra told Anadolu Agency.

Along with uncertainty, a vaccine shortage is another obstacle in Gaza's fight against the pandemic.

Health officials have administered nearly 36,000 vaccine jabs, according to al-Kudra.

Gaza City has received 110,400 doses of the vaccine but that is enough for only 55,200 residents, he said.

There are 1.2 million people who need to get vaccinated in the city, said al-Kudra.

He noted the vaccine that has been administered is "safe and effective" and the vaccination process would increase immunity.

Gaza has recorded more than 98,000 infections, including 869 fatalities, according to data by the Health Ministry.