March 8 (UPI) -- Israeli health officials began a COVID-19 vaccination drive on Monday designed to inoculate about 100,000 Palestinian workers who cross the border to work inside the country.
The drive began at eight vaccination centers along the 440-mile barrier that divides Israel and the Palestinian territories.
The drive was initially supposed to begin on Sunday, but a military liaison told The Times of Israel the schedule was delayed by administrative issues.
The Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories will also open four vaccination centers in West Bank settlement industrial zones on Tuesday.
"It is within both Israeli and Palestinian interests that we vaccinate the workers, since, as we know, coronavirus knows no geographic boundaries," COGAT coordinator Lior Wisbaum told The Washington Post.
The plan is to administer initial doses within two weeks. Palestinians who show valid employment permits will be eligible to receive the shots.
About 87,000 Palestinians have work permits in Israel and 35,000 have permits to work in Israeli settlements, according to Israeli figures.
Israel has one of the world's highest coronavirus vaccination rates, with greater than half its population already having received a first dose, according to Bloomberg.
Still, the majority of roughly 5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip remain unvaccinated. Intensive care unit beds in the West Bank are at 95% capacity.
Human rights groups have previously accused Israel, as an occupying power, of shirking an international obligation to vaccinate Palestinians. Israel has countered that the West Bank is technically disputed territory.