World Bank might suspend financing of Lebanon vaccines after lawmakers skip line

The World Bank threatens to suspend financing for coronavirus vaccines in Lebanon over what it says are violations by members of parliament who were inoculated without registering in advance.

Such a move by the World Bank would have grave consequences as Lebanon struggles through severe financial and economic crises and is in desperate need of aid. The World Bank said last month it approved $34 million to help pay for vaccines for Lebanon that will inoculate over 2 million people. The vaccination campaign in the country began on February 14 and Lebanon has so far received nearly 60,000 shots of Pfizer-BioNTech.

“Everyone has to register and wait for their turn! #nowasta,” the World Bank’s regional director Saroj Kumar Jha tweets, using a Lebanese term meaning that there should not be nepotism.

Lebanon is notorious for corruption and nepotism, which has brought the Mediterranean nation to bankruptcy.

Parliament’s secretary general Adnan Daher is quoted by state media denying that the 16 legislators had jumped the line, which prioritizes medical workers and residents at least 75 years old. Daher says all of the legislators who received an inoculation had registered and were properly in line.

Members of Lebanese security forces and staff look on during the unloading of boxes of the first shipment of the COVID-19 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, upon arrival to Rafic Hariri University Hospital in the capital Beirut, on February 13, 2021. (ANWAR AMRO / AFP)
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