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Lebanon: All 250,000 migrant workers left out of the government’s coronavirus vaccination plan

Lebanon working on COVID-19 vaccine plan for migrant workers, 12 Feb 2021

The migrant worker community in Lebanon has not been included in the government’s national coronavirus vaccination program, leaving the Labor Ministry and UN agencies to concoct a plan to inoculate the estimated 250,000 migrant workers in Lebanon, the caretaker labor minister told The Daily Star.

Caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hasan announced that the national coronavirus vaccination program, due to begin this weekend with the arrival of 28,000 doses from Pfizer-BioNTech, aims to vaccinate at least 80 percent of Lebanon’s 6 million population, giving priority to health sector workers, the elderly, and those with pre-existing health conditions, before allowing the rest of the population to be vaccinated.

Hasan has also stressed that vaccines will be available “to residents of different nationalities” residing in Lebanon, and free of charge, citing the need to achieve strong levels of immunity across the country in order to weaken the virus and begin to reopen society.

Despite this, the program has so far failed to address migrant workers, which has resulted in the Labor Ministry issuing a communique on Feb. 1 recommending all employers vaccinate their staff -- Lebanese or migrant workers in all sectors -- based on the requirements of health and safety in the workplace which is contracted by the Labor Law.

“At the Labor Ministry, we are concerned about migrant workers, they were not included in the plan with the Health Ministry that is why we are making some steps,”
MP Lamia Yammine Douaihy