Vaccines are a polarizing paper in the Lebanese political market

Beirut – Firas did not wait to receive a message from the Ministry of Health informing him that it was his turn to receive the anti-Coronavirus vaccine, after one of the influential parties in Beirut provided the necessary doses, in an effort to win the favor of its partisans and new supporters.

Although the authorities, in cooperation with the relevant international authorities, provide vaccines for free through a specialized platform and according to a priority schedule, this did not prevent the parties from entering the line of investing in the vaccine, perpetuating the policy of clientelism that they have always followed, in the midst of the worst economic collapse in the country.

Firas, 52, who and his wife received the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine through an unnamed party, said, “At first, I registered my name on the platform and waited for my turn, but when I saw that the process would take time, I registered my name and my wife’s name on the party lists. “.

The Ministry of Health provides the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines free of charge to all residents, while parties and institutions, through a private pharmaceutical company, import the Russian vaccine in exchange for $38 for two doses, which is equivalent to 75 percent of the minimum wage.

Firas, a former employee in the insurance sector who has been unemployed for six months, constitutes a sample of sixty thousand people who received vaccines provided by parties out of a total of about 900,000 who are now immunized, according to an advisor to the Minister of Health, Muhammad Haidar, told AFP.

Lebanon began the vaccination campaign in mid-February, under the support of the World Bank, amounting to 34 million dollars, stipulating a fair and equitable distribution according to the schedule of priorities.

During the same month, the World Bank threatened to suspend its funding after deputies and parliament employees received the vaccine, outside the priority list.

‘Profitable investment’

It didn’t stop there. “Political forces are trying, directly or indirectly, to enter the equation,” a source in the National Committee for the Corona Vaccine, who refused to reveal his identity, told AFP.

“The vaccine is a profitable investment for it,” he added, amid the current circumstances.

The entire political class is exposed to accusations of corruption and abuse of power. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets nearly two years ago, calling for her to step down, blaming her for the unprecedented collapse as a result of decades of policies dominated by corruption and clientelism.

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