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Lebanon Seeks to Secure 6 Million Vaccine Doses

Lebanon Seeks to Secure 6 Million Vaccine Doses

Wednesday, 27 January, 2021 - 08:00
A Red Cross vehicle drives along the empty waterfront promenade as the country starts a new lockdown, in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (AP)

The head of Lebanon’s parliamentary health committee, Assem Araji, announced Tuesday that the country is currently negotiating to secure 6 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, adding that the first shipment will include 50,000 to 60,000 doses.

In a televised interview, the MP said the first phase would prioritize medical workers and those over the age of 75.

“There are 340,000 people above the age of 75 residing in Lebanon, from several nationalities,” Araji said.

He noted that it was essential to vaccinate 80 percent of the population in order to create herd immunity. “The vaccine is not mandatory,” the MP added.

Lebanon’s vaccination plan will see the import of the vaccine from Belgium through Beirut airport and its distribution to hospitals and medical centers.

According to Araji, each medical center or hospital would vaccinate around 500 persons daily.

“The vaccine will be distributed for free,” he stressed, adding that private companies wishing to import vaccines should coordinate with the Health Ministry.

On Jan. 17, Lebanon signed a final deal to secure 2.1 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. The Health Ministry said the vaccines are expected to arrive in batches starting February.

Meanwhile, Lebanon continues to register a high number of COVID-10 cases with a new fatality record of 73 deaths.

On Tuesday, the Health Ministry registered 3,505 new coronavirus cases during the past 24 hours, raising the total to 285,745.

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