The World Bank announced on Thursday that $34 million will go to help Lebanon secure vaccines as it faces a dangerous surge in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.
In a press release, the World Bank said it had approved a re-allocation of the said sum under the existing Lebanon Health Resilience Project, to support COVID-19 vaccines for the struggling country, which is expecting vaccines to arrive in February.
The financial assistance is enough to provide vaccines for 2 million people. It’s important to note that this is the World Bank’s first financing of an operation to fund the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.
“This vaccine rollout will target priority groups: high risk health workers, population above 65 years of age, epidemiological and surveillance staff, and population between 55-64 years with co-morbidities,” the World Bank said in the press release.
This targeting has the potential to reduce the pandemic’s consequences on Lebanon, which is recording high numbers of new cases every day despite the ongoing strict lockdown and 24/7 curfew.
“Fair, broad, and fast access to COVID-19 vaccines is critical to protecting lives and supporting economic recovery,” the statement quoted World Bank Group President David Malpass as saying.
Through the Lebanon Health Resilience Project, announced early in 2020, the World Bank had assisted the Lebanese Health Ministry’s response to the outbreak by equipping governmental hospitals and enabling them to test and treat more cases.