Iran is returning donated vaccines because they were made in the US


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran has returned 820,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines donated by Poland because they were made in the United States, state television reported Monday.

The TV quoted Mohammad Hashemi, an official at the country’s health ministry, as saying Poland had donated about a million doses of the British-Swedish AstraZeneca vaccine to Iran.

“But when the vaccines arrived in Iran, we found that 820,000 doses of them imported from Poland were from the United States,” he said.

Hashemi said: “After coordination with the Polish ambassador to Iran, it was decided that the vaccines would be returned.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the last word on all state affairs, dismissed any possibility of American or British vaccines entering the country in 2020, calling them “banned”.

Iran now only imports western vaccines that are not made in the US or UK.

Hardliners swept through Parliament, railing against American-made vaccines even as daily deaths shattered records.

Iran is struggling with its sixth wave of coronavirus infections, and authorities say the aggressive Omicron variant is now dominant in the country.

With a total of more than 135,000 deaths from COVID-19, Iran has the highest national death toll in the Middle East, according to official figures. It says it has vaccinated about 90% of its population over the age of 18 with two vaccinations, although only 37% of this group received a third vaccination.

Iran has relied on Sinopharm, the state-backed Chinese vaccine, but offers citizens a smorgasbord of other vaccines to choose from – Oxford-AstraZeneca, Russia’s Sputnik V, Indian company Bharat’s Covaxin and its native COVIran Barekat-shot. The Anglo-Swedish AstraZeneca accounts for a significant portion of Iran’s vaccinations.


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