| 2 March 2024, Saturday |

Abu Sharaf says vaccination scandal not behind Bizri’s resignation

Sharaf Abu Sharaf, head of Lebanon’s Doctors Syndicate, has reiterated the need to involve the private sector in the vaccination process, calling for clarifications about “not using the 25,000 vaccine shots in the accredited vaccine centers.”

“The vaccination plan is still being riddled with violations,” he said in a radio interview on Thursday, noting that “it is required to stick to priorities and expedite the process.”

Abu Sharaf added that the number of those who received the vaccine is still small, while it is required to reach collective immunity with more than 80% of the people inoculated before the virus mutates and the vaccine is no longer effective on it.

When asked about the resignation of Dr Abdulrahman Bizri, chairman of the national committee for COVID-19 vaccination, Abu Sharaf said “the lawmakers’ vaccination scandal is not the main reason for it, but rather the slow implementation of the plan and the failure to deal with it with the required seriousness.”

Abu Sharaf  had urged more transparency in the vaccination plan on Tuesday and said there were “many violations” without giving a figure.

He said people who did not have priority or were not registered had received vaccines while some medical workers and elderly Lebanese still waited.

The World Bank threatened to suspend financing for Lebanon’s COVID-19 vaccination drive in its second week after it emerged that some lawmakers would get their shots in parliament on Tuesday.

The bank has warned against favoritism in a country where decades of state waste and corruption triggered a dire financial meltdown.

After local media reported that some MPs would get their COVID-19 shots on Tuesday, the World Bank’s regional director, Saroj Kumar Jha, said that would breach the national plan agreed for fair vaccination.