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Open Letter to the University of Oxford: Our World in Data Misrepresents Israel’s Vaccination Rates
22، Apr 2021

With the ongoing devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the impending hope for a better future in sight, it is more crucial than ever for scientists and policy makers to accurately track and follow vaccination coverage. Our World in Data, a website associated with the University of Oxford and scientifically edited by researchers of the Oxford Martin Programme on Global Development at the university, has emerged as a leading tool for tracking vaccination delivery and to understand the protective effects of vaccination, its side effects, and people’s attitudes towards vaccination. In its mission, the website commits to focusing on “poverty, disease, hunger, climate change, war, existential risks, and inequality”, in order to contribute to solving the world’s largest problems by using existing data and making it widely available. 

Yet, one of its charts uses politicized and misleading figures, celebrating one of the oldest regimes of military occupation and perpetuating its impunity before international law.

The COVID-19 vaccinations chart shows Israel’s remarkable achievement in vaccinating many of its citizens. However, it omits the fact that, as an occupying power, Israel has failed to fulfill its obligation under the Fourth Geneva Convention to provide vaccines to all 4.5 million Palestinians living under its military occupation, as affirmed by leading Palestinian, Israeli and international health and human rights organizations.  

Condemning this Israeli policy, United Nations experts emphasized, “International human rights law, which applies in full to the occupied Palestinian territory, stipulates that everyone enjoys the right to ‘the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health’. The denial of an equal access to health care, such as on the basis of ethnicity or race, is discriminatory and unlawful.” 

Adding these millions of vaccine-deprived Palestinians to Israel’s figures would change the picture entirely.

We urge the “Our World in Data” site to accurately include all Israelis and Palestinians living under Israeli control as a denominator when calculating Israel’s percentage of vaccination coverage. 


- Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC):


- Al Haq Organization - Law in the Service of Mankind

- Al Mezan Center for Human Rights

- Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association

- Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

- DCI - Defense for Children International - Palestine

- Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center 

- Aldameer Association for Human Rights

- Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies

- Hurryyat - Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights

- The Independent Commission for Human Rights (Ombudsman Office) - Observer Member

- Muwatin Institute for Democracy and Human Rights - Observer Member

- Palestine Doctors’ Association

- Institute of Community and Public Health, Birzeit University

- The Galilee Society - the Arab National Society for Health Research and Services

- Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP-UK)

- Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP-US) – Health Advisory Council

- Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I)

- B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories

- Amnesty International