Most countries are trying to get in line ordering COVID-19 vaccine, whether Pfizer which has been approved by US, Canada, Australia and UK, or Moderna. But Islamic Republic has been continuously lying about how and if they have preordered the vaccine from WHO COVAX!
December 2, 2020, Saeed Namaki said millions of doses have been preordered and Iran will be known as a major producer of the vaccine in the world in Spring of 2021. Then he changed his mind and claimed US sanctions have prevented the regime from paying for the vaccine. Five days later, Hemmati, head of Islamic Republic Central Bank, continued the same line about US sanctions.
December 10, Naser Riahi, head of Drug Importers Union, said Central Bank has been transferring millions of dollars per month for medicine and medical supplies and import medicine without any problem. Four days later, Ministry of Health Spokesperson came to the rescue but made it worse! Sima Sadat Lari said, “We are a member of COVAX and have paid a deposit. But now can’t pay for the vaccines because US sanctions have blocked our bank transactions.”
December 13, Dr Ghanei, a member of National Corona Combating Task Force, said, “We don’t have the technology to transfer or store Pfizer’s vaccine because we can’t keep it at the temperature required.”
December 16, Civil Aviation Organization of Iran issued a statement, “We have no problem transferring the vaccine. We can keep it cool during the transfer by using dry ice.” State-controlled media showed the chaos by publishing this question: “In that case, it’s unclear why Dr Ghanei claimed that and why the Ministry of Health hasn’t bought the vaccine yet.”
Today, Director of Public Relations at Ministry of Health responded to Civil Aviation statement by saying the chain of transporting the vaccine in -70 degrees Celsius is not just about the planes but reaching villages in remote areas which makes it impossible.
Domestic COVID-19 Vaccine
The domestic version of coronavirus vaccine doesn’t have a better situation! The Health Minister has been bragging about the domestic vaccine for months, calling it a big “wining card” and there would be “good news” about it soon. Until he announced 4 Iranian companies have passed their animal studies and will be starting human trials soon.
Kianush Jahanpur, FDA Spokesman, on December 2, claimed the domestic “Shifa Pharmed” vaccine would be like Moderna and Pfizer made with “inactivated” virus and has been issued “ethics code” to start human trials soon! The trials that haven’t started yet.
However, former Deputy Health Minister in Research & Technology had admitted on November 13, “we don’t have the technology and infrastructure to produce any vaccine, even though we have the knowledge about how to do it.” Previously, Dr. Masoud Mardani, a member of National Task Force had made the same point. On September 11, 2020, he said, “Don’t count on Iranian made COVID-19 vaccine.” He even said, “We haven’t been able to even produce the flu vaccine for years.”
Dr Minoo Mohraz, a member of the National Task Force, said a company has been approved for human trials and it will start next week. But now, Saeed Namaki is against “testing it on Iranians.” He’s started advocating for buying the foreign version. He’s never specified which vaccine he has “taken steps to purchase from.” December 16, some “Islamic Consultative Assembly Reps” have started a movement to question Namaki on the floor of “parliament” as to why he’s so insistent on buying the foreign COVID-19 vaccine and not support the domestic scientists!
According to Dr Mohraz, even to import a vaccine, it would take until summer of 2021 to be accessible, the same time it takes for an Iranian one to be ready! Dr. Zali, head of Tehran Corona Combating Committee, on November 29, had claimed “martyr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh” was the founder of COVID-19 vaccine in Iran which is ready for human trials. But on December 16, he said, “Domestic coronavirus vaccine may take a long time, we should try to import it as soon as possible and not fall behind the neighboring countries.”
Chaos and controversies have always been the main method Islamic Republic has used to run the country since its inception. In this human catastrophe alone, in the past 10 months, we have reported every day about the lies, corruption and mismanagement of the crisis.