COVID-19 Vaccine Production, Purchase from Abroad on Agenda: Iran

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has unveiled plans to meet the local demand for the coronavirus vaccine by developing homegrown products and arranging for purchases from the other countries.

President Rouhani chaired a meeting of the specialized committees of the Coronavirus Battle National Headquarters on Tuesday.

After hearing a report about the positive results of the extensive screening of people with COVID-19 rapid test kits, a rise in the domestic production of diagnostic test kits, and the development of a homegrown vaccine for the coronavirus, President Rouhani said the Coronavirus Battle National Headquarters has focused on two main priorities in dealing with the pandemic.

The first priority is to enforce the health protocols, carry out schemes for screening of people, and implement smart social distancing plans as the most reliable methods, the president noted, pointing to the positive results of the recent restrictions in curbing a new wave of coronavirus infections.

The second priority is to supply the COVID-19 vaccine, President Rouhani stated, adding, “Preparations and arrangements have been made for the production of vaccine with reliance on the capabilities of the domestic scientists and expert centers, as acquiring and purchasing it (vaccine) from abroad is also on the agenda.”

The president then lashed out at the US for obstructing the delivery of basic needs, including the coronavirus vaccine, to Iranian people.

The world will not forget the illegal, anti-human and shameful activities of the outgoing US administration, the president added.

“We will overcome this obstacle in the same way that we managed to tackle the economic war,” President Rouhani underlined, assuring the Iranian people that all administrative organizations are working to supply a reliable and certified vaccine.

Participants in the meeting agreed on a plan to immediately obtain a vaccine approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), distribute it by identifying priority populations, and double efforts to produce the vaccine inside the country.

In comments on Monday, Governor of the Central Bank of Iran said Tehran has tried to purchase COVID-19 vaccine from other countries, but the US sanctions have prevented financial transactions for the sale.

Abdolnasser Hemmati said while the purchases of the coronavirus vaccine should be made officially through the WHO, Iran has faced obstacles in every single way that it has tried to make payments and transfer currency for the purchase of vaccine “because of the US government’s inhumane sanctions and the need for permission from OFAC”, the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Treasury Department.

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