Lebanon receives first COVID vaccines

Lebanon on Saturday received its first vaccination against the coronavirus, a day before the start of an inoculation campaign in an endangered Mediterranean country.

A vial containing the COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech and a syringe on board can be seen in the pharmacy of the vaccine center at Robert Bosch hospital in Stuttgart, southern Germany, on February 12, 2021. AFP

A plane landed at Beirut airport, an AFP reporter said, with authorities saying it was carrying 28,500 doses of Pfizer / BioNTech that entered Belgium. The passengers were the first after the World Bank allocated $ 34 million to include two million of Lebanon’s six million residents. Caretaker health minister Hamad Hassan was on the tarmac to welcome the plane and expressed “great relief”. “It is a dream come true today with the support of our UN and international partners,” he told reporters, “The vaccine will reach all Lebanese citizens across the country, “In addition to Syrian and Palestinian refugees and other residents, he promised. Lebanon has been under tight lock since mid-January, following an unprecedented spike in cases of blame for holiday gatherings that Vaccines are due to begin on Sunday, and health workers are due to receive their first dose at Rafik Hariri Hospital, the country ‘s leading public hospital. covid-19, American University of Beirut Medical Center, and Saint George Orthodox Hospital. “The best gift anyone can ask for is Valentine’s Day,” Rafik Hariri Hospital director Firas Abiad wrote on Twitter. Hassan D iab, 61, is also to be vaccinated, his office said. Under the Lebanon vaccination plan, medical staff and those over the age of 75 will receive the injection first. In total Lebanon hopes to receive around six million doses of vaccine, including two million from Pfizer / BioNTech and another 2.7 million through the international Covax circulation program. Half a million people in Lebanon have signed up to receive vaccinations, a health ministry official said, although many are reluctant to get the injection. Of the 500 people surveyed by the private think tank Information International, 31 percent said they would get the vaccine, 38 percent said they would prefer not to, and a further 31 percent had no confirmation. Lebanon was already in the throes of the worst economic crisis in decades when Covid-19 struck, and the situation is exacerbated by a massive explosion at the port of Beirut in August that killed more than 200 people and it destroyed large parts of the capital. The World Bank and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Cross Societies (IFRC) want to monitor the spread, they said in a statement Friday. They aim to “ensure fair, widespread and rapid access to Covid-19 vaccines to help save lives and support economic recovery”, said World Bank regional director Saroj Kumar Jha . Lebanon says 334,086 people have been infected with coronavirus since February 2020, of which 3,915 have died.

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