Lebanon Expected To Sign Pfizer Vaccine Contract This Week

Lebanon Expected To Sign Coronavirus Vaccine Contract This Week

is expected to sign a deal this week to secure its share of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hasan has confirmed.

The funds for the first $4-million payment of the $18-million deal was already secured in a meeting with the central bank and caretaker Prime Minister .

“We removed this obstacle,” Hasan told Reuters Monday, revealing that the first batch of vaccines was expected to reach 8 weeks after the contract’s signing.

Women wait outside a hospital in Beirut.
Reuters/Issam Abdallah

The official had said that the cost of the contract would be covered using funding from the Health Ministry’s budget, the general budget reserve, donations from some public administrations, in addition to a loan.

The deal comes amid troubling times for , which has been paralyzed by a debilitating economic and financial crisis for months.

To add to its turmoil, the country has been recording high numbers of new coronavirus infection cases daily, which is putting additional pressure on its readily-exhausted health sector.

The explosion and the recent spike in the emigration of doctors and nurses did their part in straining ’s hospitals, which are growing short of beds for receiving new cases of the disease.

Minister Hasan assured that aims to add 200 new intensive care unit (ICU) beds in the next couple of months, bringing the total up to 700.

He also requested help from U.N. agencies and NGOs to secure additional vaccines for , which has a large population of refugees, affirming that “protecting all the communities living in … should be part of the same plan.”

A new support for ’s medical sector emerged recently from a UAE Foundation, The Big Heart, which is allocating over $2M to rebuild and expand one of the main hospitals in , Saint George Hospital.

We have a dedicated coronavirus section where you can find the latest news/updates about the pandemic in , inform yourself with WHO-verified resources, and track the number of cases in in real-time. Click here.

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