Health Minister: 20 companies negotiating to obtain Russian and Chinese vaccines, national vaccination plan robust and coherent

Thu 25 Feb 2021 at 11:43 Corona

NNA - Caretaker Minister of Public Health, Dr. Hamad Hassan, regretted in an interview with Tele Liban attempts to smear "the national achievement that the government has recorded amid these difficult days."

"The national vaccination plan against Covid-19 is robust, coherent, and complies with the standards of global health references, so why smear it?" asked Hassan.

"The implementation of the plan entails great capabilities and groups of volunteers at the time that we get to work all throughout the day with very limited capabilities, let alone manage to record the least [vaccine] waste percentage," he added.

Hassan then explained that "the sixteen MPs who received the vaccine did not take the turn of others. "They were registered on the platform, and their vaccination was not random at all," he affirmed.

Moreover, he went on to deny any sort of international guardianship over the national vaccination plan. "There's rather coordination with the committee assigned by the World Bank to ensure the prevention of smuggling, sale, and investment of the vaccine. As for the other details and practical matters, they're within the ministry's capacity."

Hassan then disclosed that the number of those who have registered so far on the platform was seven hundred thirty thousand (730,000), of whom eighty-eight thousand and seven hundred people (88,700) were above seventy-five years old, and have registered in recent days.

Minister Hassan then rebutted what was being said about a delay by the Ministry of Public Health in contacting the embassies of Russia and China to bring in the SPUTNIK V and SINOPHARM vaccines.

"Any talk about our being late is not true -- just as the accusation of obstructing the private sector from getting the vaccine is a mere fabrication," he affirmed.

He then explained that "Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZenica do not sell their vaccines to the private sector, whereas the Russian Investment Fund requires the private sector to obtain permission from the ministry of health to negotiate with it, although this fund prefers to conclude a direct contract with the ministry itself because SPUTNIK V vaccine is very sensitive and needs to be transferred at (-18) degrees, and after five minutes of defrosting it, its shelf life is only two hours."

The Health Minister went on to say that twenty private companies have obtained the Ministry's permission to negotiate vaccine deals -- Sputnik (thirteen companies) and Sinopharm (seven companies) -- with the exception of two companies who requested an exclusivity permission "which is a clear violation of the Lebanese law."

He finally stressed that the Ministry continued to stop and confront abuses in the health and medical sectors, pointing to some flagrant exploitation and extortion of people in this field. Consequently, he asked of citizens to be strict about obtaining a receipt from hospitals in Lebanese pounds "because most of these supplies are subsidized by the Central Bank."


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