“When we ask all citizens to go down to the vaccination centers and stand in line, then all citizens must go to the vaccination centers, without exception,” Bizri said. He added that people would be sent home to the elderly or sick to leave, but that favoring some citizens would not be tolerated.
According to an agreement between the World Bank and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Lebanese people must take the vaccine at designated centers where recipients are eligible.
Healthcare workers, the elderly and people with reduced immunity have been given priority for the vaccine, according to a national plan for introduction and vaccination adopted last month by the Ministry of Public Health and endorsed by the World Bank.
Sarod Kumar Ja, the World Bank̵
Ja added that the World Bank would ask the government to explain and justify why the World Bank should not withdraw from the agreement. “We have to follow the proper process,” he said, “but our goal is to save lives and livelihoods. We want the authorities to take immediate corrective action and report to us. “
Although Bizri had previously announced he would resign from the vaccines committee, he said he had resigned on the orders of colleagues. He said that if the government gave an inadequate explanation for the violation, the entire commission would probably resign on Wednesday afternoon.
“We will MONITOR a fair and transparent distribution among PRIORITY groups,” Ferid Belhai, the World Bank’s regional vice president for the Middle East and North Africa, tweeted last month.
He added the hashtag “NoWasta” – the last word is an Arabic term that roughly translates as a combination of nepotism and connections.
“Wasta,” a common phrase in Lebanon and other Arab countries, effectively manages everyday life: people with waste are more likely to have access to services and benefits such as work, health care and reduced prison sentences. The hashtag “NoWasta” has spread to Lebanon, with residents hoping it will contribute to the legal and fair distribution of the vaccine.
“Since the plan began,” Bizry said, “we’ve noticed a few things that are sometimes isolated. [incidents]. But today I believe that there has been a breakthrough for which we cannot remain silent. “
The first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived in Lebanon on February 13 under the supervision of the World Bank. The initial 28,000 doses, followed by 31,000 on Sunday, are part of a World Bank-funded project aimed at vaccinating 2 million people in Lebanon.