More than 17,000 people have received the COVID-19 vaccine in Lebanon since the launch of the inoculation campaign less than a week ago, Health Advisor to the President Dr. Walid Khoury confirmed on Friday.
“No complications or side effects experienced from the vaccine have been registered so far,” the advisor said, adding that Lebanon is on the right track to implement the national plan for the vaccination drive.
Last weekend, Lebanon received its first batch of 28,500 Pfizer-BioNTech doses of coronavirus vaccines. It started vaccinations on Sunday.
More Pfizer-BioNTech doses are scheduled to arrive to Beirut over the coming weeks and at a later stage AstraZeneca shots will be brought in.
Lebanon gave its first COVID-19 vaccine doses to health workers and those above 75.
The country had imposed a nationwide lockdown including a curfew as of Jan. 11 to try to limit the spread of the virus.
The curfew helped decrease the number of daily cases with 2,255 new infections registered on Friday.
In light of hesitation among the Lebanese to get the vaccine, director of Rafik Hariri University Hospital (RHUH) Dr. Firas Abiad published on his Twitter page a report by The Lancet magazine showing early rate reductions of COVID-19 infection in Pfizer vaccine recipients.
It said the first dose of the vaccine is 85% effective.
The Lancet publication comes a day after Canadian researchers suggested that the second Pfizer dose be delayed given the high level of protection from the first shot in order to increase the number of people getting vaccinated.
Lebanon has finalized a deal with Pfizer for 2.1 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine and another 2.7 million doses from the UN-led program to provide for countries in need.