TEL AVIV—As Israel leads the world in vaccinating against covid-19, the neighboring West Bank and Gaza are grappling with the prospect of waiting months to inoculate their people, raising political and public-health questions about Israel’s responsibilities to the Palestinians.
The contrast could hardly be more stark.
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said Thursday the country is receiving more of the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE beginning on Sunday and will be able to vaccinate its population by the end of March, or possibly before. The vaccine’s makers say it takes two doses to be fully effective.
Israel—a wealthy country that boasts of a technologically advanced health-care system—has administered the first shot to more than 18% of its roughly nine-million population since paying a premium for early shipments and beginning its program on Dec. 20.
While other countries, including the U.S., have administered more doses, none has vaccinated a larger percentage of its population.