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'Playing with our lives': Iran's medics urge authorities to import British, American Covid vaccines Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

'Playing with our lives': Iran's medics urge authorities to import British, American Covid vaccines

Medics have warned against 'politicising coronavirus' [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 January, 2021

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Iranian medics sent an open letter to President Hassan Rouhani urging the government to stop politicising the coronavirus crisis after British and American vaccines were banned in the Islamic Republic.
Top Iranian doctors on Sunday urged the government to stop politicising the coronavirus crisis, just days after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei announced that the import of American and British vaccines will be banned.

On Friday, Khamenei tweeted: "Importing vaccines made in the US or the UK is prohibited. They're completely untrustworthy. It's not unlikely they would want to contaminate other nations."

"Given our experience with France's HIV-tainted blood supplies, French vaccines aren't trustworthy either," he added with the hashtag #CoronaVaccine.

Twitter removed the tweet and replaced it with a message that said it was "no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules".

Reacting to Tehran’s policy, the heads of the three branches of Iran’s Medical Council and the chairman of the Assembly of Scientific Associations appealed in an open letter to President Hassan Rouhani to ensure the vaccines are distributed immediately. 

Read also: Cuba to test Covid vaccine in hard-hit Iran

"As representatives of the medical community of the country, we strongly urge you to direct all efforts of the esteemed government to provide a safe and approved vaccine through scientific authorities in order to ensure the natural rights of the people and the expectations of the medical staff are met, using all the capacities of the public and private sectors and divorced from political issues," the letter said, according to Iran Wire.

The medics also deplored Iranian authorities' insistence on producing its own vaccines, highlighting that say the domestic vaccines will not be approved and mass-produced soon enough, and urged Iranian officials to procure vaccines produced abroad immediately.

The letter was signed by Mohammad Reza Zafar Ghandi, President of the Iranian Medical Council, Mostafa Moin, Chairman of the Supreme Council, Abbas Aghazadeh Masrour, Chairman of the General Assembly of the council, and Iraj Fazel, Chairman of the Medical Scientific Associations' Group.

The Islamic republic has reported more than 1.2 million cases of the novel coronavirus, which have caused over 56,000 deaths.

It has accused arch-enemy the United States of hampering its access to vaccines through tough sanctions.

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