Lebanon’s Health Minister Calls Vaccination Scandal “Exaggerated”

Dalati Nohra

On Tuesday, Lebanese parliamentarians caused controversy when they jumped the queue to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The World Bank Regional Director, Saroj Kumar Jha, called them out, saying it was in clear violation of the terms set with them for ensuring a fair vaccination process that prioritizes health workers and those above 75 years old.

Saroj Kumar Jha also warned that the World Bank might even suspend financing for the vaccines and COVID-19 support in Lebanon.

Out of frustration with the violation, the head of the coronavirus vaccination committee in Lebanon, Dr. Abdul Rahman Bizri, was on the verge of quitting altogether but quickly withdrew his resignation.

However, in an interview on Télé Liban, Lebanon’s caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hassan insisted that the decision to vaccinate MPs was not a violation of the national vaccination program.

Instead, Hamad Hassan said he allowed himself to make this decision out of “appreciation” for the MPs’ efforts to pass an emergency approval law for vaccines in 7 days.

In other words, because they did their job, they were given the vaccines as a gift. It’s worth noting that several of the MPs who received the vaccine are not even above 75.

Hamad Hassan went on to say that the public response was “exaggerated” and didn’t need to be so dramatic.

The scandal revealed that President Aoun, his wife, as well as his parliamentary staff all already received the vaccine.

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

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