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The New Arab Staff

Elderly man sues Lebanese ministry into vaccinating him as MPs jump queue

MPs have been jumping the queue [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 March, 2021

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Joseph al-Hajj, 80, took legal action after lawmakers caused widespread outrage in Lebanon last week by getting vaccinated before their turn.

A judge ordered Lebanon’s health ministry to vaccinate an elderly man within 48 hours or be fined, saying the department had violated the trust of the public by allowing MPs to jump the queue.

Joseph al-Hajj, 80, took legal action after lawmakers caused widespread outrage in Lebanon last week by getting vaccinated before their time, arguing that he had priority access to the vaccine according to the country’s vaccination plan.

Judge Carla Chawah said the health ministry’s decision to allow MPs to jump the vaccination queue had violated al-Hajj’s right to health and life because he had priority in the national plan being aged over 75.

The World Bank, which is funding part of Lebanon’s coronavirus vaccination campaign, threatened to suspend finances after a Thomson Reuters Foundation correspondent reported lawmakers were to be vaccinated at the nation’s parliament last week.

The judge said in a ruling seen by the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the ministry’s decision posed “an imminent threat to the plaintiff” and were “a clear violation” of his “essential rights”.

She said the ministry would have pay a fine of 10 million Lebanese liras ($6,500) a day for every day over the 48 hours.

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