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Tipsheet

Iran Returns Donated COVID-19 Vaccines Because They Were Made in the US: Report

AP Photo/LM Otero

Iran reportedly returned 820,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, donated by Poland, because they were manufactured in the United States.

According to a report from the Associated Press, state TV quoted Mohammad Hashemi, an official in the country’s Health Ministry, as saying that Poland donated “about a million” doses of the British-Swedish AstraZeneca vaccine to Iran. 

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“When the vaccines arrived in Iran, we found that 820,000 doses of them which were importanted from Poland were from the United States,” he added. “After coordination with the Polish ambassador to Iran, it was decided that the vaccines would be returned.”

The AP noted that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in 2020 that any possibility of American or British coronavirus vaccines entering the country would be “forbidden.” 

“Iran now only imports Western vaccines that are not produced in the U.S. or Britain,” the report stated. “Hard-liners swept the parliament and railed against American-made vaccines even as daily deaths shattered records.”

Currently, Iran is experiencing its sixth wave of COVID-19 infections. The Omicron variant is now dominant in the country. Iran has primarily relied on the state-back Chinese vaccine Sinopharm to combat the virus. Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is another option for Iran’s citizens.

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“With more than 135,000 total deaths from COVID-19, according to official numbers, Iran has the highest national death toll in the Middle East,” the AP reported. “It says it has vaccinated some 90% of its population above age 18 with two shots, although only 37% of that group has had a third shot.”

Data from Johns Hopkins University shows that Iran has recorded almost 7 million COVID-19 infections since the beginning of the pandemic. About 55,000,000 residents are now fully vaccinated, which represents 66.6 percent of the country’s population.

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