Lebanon needs to administer 30,000 shots of COVID-19 vaccine a day if it is to reach herd immunity in one year, Firass Abiad, General Manager of the Rafik Hariri University Hospital, announced on Tuesday.
In a tweet, Abiad dashed hopes that Lebanon would overcome the pandemic any time soon, saying only 50,000 people have received the Pfizer vaccine since February 14.
“But, for sure, we should not be pessimistic. Vaccines save lives, and it can only get better as more people get vaccinated. It will not be enough though. Safety measures will remain a must, but we can then start smiling underneath the mask,” he said, adding that only 15 percent of eligible individuals have registered to get the vaccine so far.
On Monday, the national committee on COVID-19 vaccines approved the emergency use of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine.
It is the fourth COVID-19 inoculation to be approved in the country, after Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Sputnik V.
Meanwhile, head of the Health Parliamentary Committee Issam Araji said Tuesday that the COVID-19 treatment in Lebanon is very expensive.
“A PCR test, a blood test and an X ray, in addition to medicines and an oxygen machine cost around LL3 million and could rise to tens of millions if the patient is hospitalized,” he remarked.
He tweeted that the high treatment cost is forcing patients to think twice before deciding to go to the hospital, therefore, raising the COVID-19 death toll.
On Tuesday, the Health Ministry announced the registration of 3,098 new coronavirus infections, raising the total to 380,019. It confirmed 62 new deaths.