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Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila administers a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to a woman during a vaccination campaign in Ramallah on March 21, 2021. Photo: Sababa/Xinhua via Getty

The Palestinian Authority called off the COVID vaccine deal with the new Israeli government after determining the doses were too close to their expiration date, Reuters reports.

The latest: Israel had agreed to transfer 1.2 million doses of Pfizer to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for the fresh Pfizer shipment Palestinians were expected to receive in October. But on Friday Palestinian officials said the doses from Israel were set to expire soon and did not meet the necessary standards.

What they're saying: "After the technical teams in the ministry of health examined the first batch of the Pfizer vaccines that were received this evening from Israel, it became clear that the 90,000 doses received do not conform to the specifications contained in the agreement," PA spokesman Ibrahim Melhem said during a joint press conference with PA Health Minister Mai al-Kaila, per Reuters.

  • "Accordingly Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh instructed the minister of health to cancel the agreement with the Israeli side on exchanging the vaccine and returning the quantity that was received today to Israel."

Why it matters: Negotiations on the deal began during then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's term but were expedited by the new government, Israeli health officials say.

  • Israeli officials had said the agreement would allow the Palestinians to get the vaccines they urgently need three months ahead of time. Israel didn’t need the vaccines anymore because the majority of the population has already been vaccinated.
  • As part of the agreement, the Palestinian Authority would've distributed the vaccines in the occupied West Bank, with a first shipment of more than 100,000 doses transferred on Friday and the rest next week.

Editor's note: This story has been updated.

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
Oct 15, 2021 - Health

Maine health care staff won't get unemployment benefits if they refuse vaccine

A pharmacy technicinan specialist at Maine Medical Center in South Portland, Maine. Photo: Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Maine health care workers who face firing for defying COVID vaccine requirements will not be eligible to receive unemployment benefits, AP reports.

Why it matters: The notice comes as Maine's hospitals suffer labor shortages partly related to the state's vaccine mandate. One of the state's biggest hospitals has had to turn away trauma and pediatric patients and shutter an entire department, according to a local CBS affiliate.

Oct 14, 2021 - Sports

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says he requires all employees to be vaccinated

Photo: Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in a podcast Wednesday that he requires all of his employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Driving the news: Cuban's comments come the same week Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Monday that prohibits COVID-19 vaccine mandates by any "entity," including employers.