Lebanon citizens are reluctant to receive their Covid-19 vaccine jabs claiming government was ‘dictating’ them to get vaccinated.
According to foreign news agency, One Lebanese group on social media called Conscious Warriors For Truth distributed flyers at the protest, claiming the virus cannot be transmitted through asymptomatic patients, COVID-19 statistics are exaggerated, and the vaccines are unsafe and ineffective.
Meanwhile, on a WhatsApp group, a priest sent an audio recording calling on worshippers to attend the protest against the new vaccine regulation.
“People can inject themselves with whatever chemicals they want until the end of time, but I don’t want to,” Al Jazeera quoted 35-year-old Evelyne as saying at a recent anti-vaccine protest in downtown Beirut.
She was among hundreds in Martyrs Square protesting against a government decision that requires public sector workers to get vaccinated or take frequent PCR tests at their own expense in order to go to work. They called it a “vaccine dictatorship”.
On top of that, Lebanon is struggling to vaccinate its population, even though it is not in short of supply. Many people are simply refusing to do so.
As of Thursday, only about 37 percent of the population received two vaccine doses, according to the health ministry. Two-thirds of the population have registered to get vaccinated so far.
Anti-vaccine content is rampant across Lebanese social media channels from various positions, the news agency reported.
Mohamad Najem, executive director of Beirut-based digital rights organisation SMEX, told Al Jazeera the financial crisis in Lebanon and the lack of trust in the authorities has played a role in vaccine hesitancy and spreading misinformation.