Israeli occupation authorities have issued a decree barring the Palestinian Ministry of Health from importing vaccines, starting from the beginning of the year 2019, said Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Asaad Ramlawi.
In an interview with the official Voice of Palestine radio station, Dr. Ramlawi said that the Israeli decree has put the supply of vaccinations at risk; the Ministry of Health has resources for just two months of vaccine provision, after which there will be a serious problem if the issue is not resolved. They are in contact with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in order to address the issue.
According to UNICEF, the Israeli government is bringing into force laws that have existed since 1986. Ramlawi condemned the decision, pointing out that since the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) took office in 1994, there have been no problems with the issue of vaccinations, and that much has changed since the establishment of those laws, 32 years ago.
Ramlawi said that the Ministry of Health, together with WHO and UNICEF, are working hard to make a case for the rescindment of this decision. They are in contact with several other nations, enlisting their assistance and asking that they put pressure on Israel to allow the importation of vaccines into Palestine.
The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health pointed out that a lack of vaccination will result in the spread of disease, not only in Palestine, but in the whole of the region, putting millions at risk.
Occupation authorities have decreed that vaccines can be imported from just ten countries worldwide. However, the ten nations listed do not have an interest in vaccine production, and therefore do not have the required certificate for such from WHO, which means that the Palestinian Ministry of Health cannot import from them, in any case.
Ramlawi noted that, for the past 18 years, the Ministry of Health has successfully achieved 100% coverage of the area with vaccine provision, resulting in eradication of those diseases which are vaccinated against. The decision by Israeli occupation authorities puts this achievement and the health of children everywhere, at risk.