Lebanon was expected to sign Pfizer’s vaccine contract this week

Lebanon is expected to sign a contract this week to receive its share of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronfirus vaccine, Health Minister caretaker Hamad Hasan has confirmed.

The funding for the first $ 4-million payout of the $ 18-million deal has already been secured in a meeting with central bank and Prime Minister Hassan Diab.

“We have removed this barrier,” Hasan told Reuters on Monday, noting that the first batch of Lebanese vaccines was expected to arrive 8 weeks after the contract was signed.

Women are waiting outside a hospital in Beirut.
Reuters / Issam Abdallah

The official had stated that the cost of the contract would be covered by the use of funding from the Ministry of Health budget, the general budget reserve, grants from some public administrations, as well as a World Bank loan. .

The agreement comes amid difficult times for Lebanon, which has been paralyzed by a difficult economic and financial crisis for months.

To add to its turmoil, the country has been recording high numbers of new cases of new coronavirus infections every day, which puts additional pressure on its restless health sector.

The recent Beirut eruption and the spike in the emigration of doctors and nurses did their part in putting pressure on Lebanese hospitals, which are running out of beds for new cases of the disease.

Minister Hasan was confident that Lebanon aims to add 200 beds of new intensive care units (ICUs) in the next month or two, bringing the total to 700.

He called on the help of DA groups and NGOs to obtain additional vaccines for Lebanon, which has a large population of refugees, stressing that “all communities that are stay in Lebanon… be part of the same plan. ”

New support for Lebanon’s medical department recently emerged from the UAE Foundation, The Big Heart, which is allocating more than $ 2M to rebuild and expand one of Beirut’s major hospitals, Saint George Hospital.

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