The Health Ministry has authorized 24 medical centers from the private sector in Lebanon to arrange a deal with foreign pharmaceutical companies that export coronavirus vaccines.
That comes as the first time independent firms receive permission to cooperate with the vaccination rollout. However, as of yet, none of the firms were able to secure the coronavirus vaccines, caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hassan told LBCI news.
Private firms have shown interest in purchasing the vaccines ever since the Health Ministry announced last month the vaccination plan, as multiple establishments have made it clear that they’re ready to start vaccinating their employees and staff so they can re-open their facilities.
Yet, coronavirus vaccine suppliers seem reluctant to hand out any jabs to private Lebanese firms.
Michel Daher and Fouad Makhzoumi, two independent politicians that were given permission to secure the coronavirus vaccines, are still waiting for pharmaceutical companies to grant them any.
Over the last few months, Hamad Hassan met with the Russian ambassador to Lebanon several times with the aim of facilitating the Russian-developed vaccine Sputnik V, according to MP Assem Araji and head of the parliamentary health committee.
However, Russia made it clear that it would only cooperate through Lebanon’s Health Ministry, as the vaccine must be monitored and stored in ultra-cold freezers. Private firms may not have the logistical capabilities of storing the vaccine.
It is to note that the second shipment of COVID-19 vaccine has arrived last week as expected, reported the IFRC MENA that monitored reception at the airport and its transportation to Rafic Hariri University Hospital.