Iran has a way to get COVID-19 vaccines despite sanctions

DUBAI, United Arab Emiratos (AP) – Although Iran opposes U.S. sanctions, there are still ways for Tehran to get coronavirus vaccines as the country suffers the worst outbreak of the Mideast pandemic.

After reducing the virus earlier, Iran has accepted the extent of the impending catastrophe after 1.1 million reported cases and more than 52,000 deaths.

Getting vaccines in his people’s arms was a big step in stopping the crisis.

Get The Daily of Israel’s Daily Edition by Email and don’t miss our top stories for free

But while Iran is able to get vaccines, challenges still range from sanctions imposed under U.S. President Donald Trump to the logistics of making major vaccines happen.

A protective-dressed volunteer prepares a grave for the funeral of a COVID-19 deceased at a cemetery on the outskirts of the city of Gaemshahr, in northern Iran, December. 18, 2020. (Photo AP / Ebrahim Noroozi)

How could Iran get vaccines?

Iran has signed up for COVAX, an international program designed to distribute coronavirus vaccines to low- and middle-income countries around the world. That program is partly run by Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance. Gavi says the U.S. Treasury Foreign Fund Control Office has already granted permission for Iran to participate. The Treasury declined to comment.

For its part, Iran has said U.S. sanctions have affected its ability to buy medicine and vaccines. President Hassan Rouhani has said that Iranians should “curse Trump a hundred times” over the problems. U.S. sanctions have specific sanctions for treatment and humanitarian aid to Iran.

In this photo released by the official website of the Iranian Presidency office, President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a cabinet meeting in Tehran, Iran, December 2, 2020. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP )

However, international banks and financial institutions are delaying in dealing with Iranian affairs for fear of being fined or locked out of the American market.

These sanctions, however, would not stop Iran from flying loads of money to Geneva to pay for its participation in COVAX. Gavi refused to offer any information about payments or orders from Iran, although Iran under its rules could at most order prescribe vaccines for 50% of its 82 million people.

Alireza Miryousefi, criticized by the Iranian mission to the United Nations, has criticized the US for its sanctions and banking restrictions, which he said “have severely hampered many of Iran’s access to the COVID-19 vaccine. .

“Nevertheless, together with our own indigenous vaccine trials, we are confident that the international community and the relevant international drug companies will fulfill their humanitarian role and accelerate our all orders, “Miryousefi said.

Local efforts to eradicate vaccination did not begin, meaning that the Islamic Republic may have to rely on those abroad.

Does Iran have an infrastructure for mass inoculation?

When it comes to childhood vaccines, Iran has almost 100% success in inoculations, according to World Health Organization data. People from surrounding countries often come to Iran for medical care as well. Iran’s hospitals, doctors and nurses are named as some of the best in the Middle East, with a network of clinics from small towns to cities. State-run facilities offer subsidized care, while private hospitals can be very expensive.

Physicians are susceptible to COVID-19 patient at Shohadaye Tajrish Hospital in Tehran, Iran, October 14, 2020. (Akbar Badrkhani / Iranian Ministry of Health via AP)

However, there are questions about large vaccine driver login. Iran’s flying fleet may have had to fly to pick up vaccines made overseas. Many airlines do not fly into Iran because of sanctions. It would also be a challenge to keep vaccines very cold, as in the case of Pfizer-BioNTech which requires 70 degrees Celsius (remove 94 degrees Fahrenheit). Mostafa Ghanei, director of the scientific commission at Iran’s National Headquarters for Confederation, has said Iran does not want the Pfizer vaccine for that reason.

Would Iran accept a vaccine made in America?

That is still a question. Early in the pandemic, Iran’s Director General, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, put forward a conspiracy theory without the suspicion that America could carry the virus. In those comments in March, he suggested “your drug may be a way to spread the virus more.” These comments emerged aimed at diverting any U.S. support from hand from the Trump administration, but Iranian officials are now criticizing U.S. President Joe Biden.

Vial with Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in a medical room, in Moscow, Russia, December. 5, 2020 (Photo AP / Pavel Golovkin)

Iran is looking at Chinese and Russian vaccine options. However, if COVAX relied on the vaccines, the cooperation could provide American vaccines with selectivity. There is also a cost cut for Iran if it decides to choose which vaccine it wants from COVAX. He had to set up a $ 3.50 dose in advance to be able to refuse the offered vaccine, compared to $ 1.60 per dose. If Iran chooses to offer investment to vaccinate half of its population through COVAX, that equates to $ 143.5 million compared to an initial payment of $ 65.6 million.

By rejecting the COVAX vaccine offer Iran could also receive later doses.

Why is Iran under US sanctions?

Since the 1979 U.S. Ambassador and the 444-day hostility crisis in Tehran, Iran has been subject to a series of economic sanctions. Some were lifted under Iran’s nuclear deal in 2015 by world powers, which saw Tehran restrict its uranium enrichment in exchange for that relief.

In 2018, Trump withdrew the U.S. from that agreement, repealing sanctions that had crushed Iran’s long anemic economy.

This frame from a video shows that underground ballistic missiles were launched by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard during a military exercise. (Sepahnews through AP)

Trump said he withdrew from the deal on Iran’s ballistic missile program, its regional secrets and other issues – not all of which were part of the 2015 deal.

Biden has said he could return America to the treaty if Iran agrees to respect its borders again. However, a growing series of events over the past year and a half across the Mideast has raised tensions between Tehran and Washington.

You are pregnant. We appreciate that!

That’s why we come to work every day – to educate developed readers like you about Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a demand. Unlike other news outlets, we did not set up a pay wall. But because the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers who have become important to the Israeli Times to support our work by coming together Israel Times Community.

For as little as $ 6 per month you can help support quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel FREE, as well as access to exclusive content available only to members of the Times of Israel Community.

Join our community Join our community as a member? Sign in to stop viewing this