The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines for Lebanon arrived in the country on February 13, 2021 as part of the World Bank-financed Lebanon Health Resilience Project (LHRP). This is also the first World Bank support for COVID-19 vaccination in the world.

Lebanon officially launched the national vaccination campaign at Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut on February 14.

The first to receive the vaccine was Dr. Mahmoud Hassoun, the head of the hospital's Intensive Care Unit. The second in line was beloved Lebanese actor, 93-year-old Salah Tizani.

Together, they represent the priority groups which the campaign targets in the early phases of vaccination: frontline health workers, the elderly, and those with co-morbidities. "I'm telling everyone to come and get vaccinated and not be scared.

Better to get vaccinated than to be knocked down by this deadly virus," Tizani told the AFP. Despite the implementation challenges ahead, COV- ID-19 vaccination in Lebanon will save lives and support economic recovery in a country that urgently needs it.

A version of this article appears in the print on February 24, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.