Iran Buys AstraZeneca-Oxford Vaccine Despite Leader’s Ban on Western Shots

Iran has bought 4.2 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University coronavirus vaccine, despite a ban on British and U.S.-made shots.

Health Minister Saeed Namaki told state TV the shipment is expected later this month and was secured through the global vaccine procurement system backed by the World Health Organization.

In January, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced a ban on importing British and U.S. Covid-19 shots, saying they couldn’t be trusted. But the country’s top epidemiologist later signaled a loophole when she said she was looking to import the British-made vaccine from outside the U.K.

Some 2 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik vaccine are also expected to arrive in Iran tomorrow, Namaki said.

The Islamic Republic has the worst outbreak of the disease in the Middle East and has officially reported more than 58,000 deaths and 1.4 million cases so far.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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