Beirut Begins Much-Needed Vaccination Effort
Lebanon kicked off its national vaccination operation on Sunday, inoculating thousands of health care workers and citizens over 75 with the Pfizer vaccine against the coronavirus, which is ravaging the country. Lebanon has so far racked up nearly 337,000 infections and about 4,000 deaths. Beirut’s health ministry has ordered over 2 million vaccine doses, and an additional 2.7 million doses are scheduled to arrive via the global COVAX system, which distributes vaccines to countries in need. The World Bank and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies will monitor the rollout in Lebanon, which is home to more than six million people, including a million Syrian refugees which the government has vowed to inoculate. The battered Middle Eastern state, already buckling under unprecedented economic and social turmoil and ongoing political crises, was forced into partial lockdown last month after a sharp spike in new virus cases forced overwhelmed hospitals to turn away patients.