Human Rights Watch Blames Iran’s Government For Covid Crisis

Iranian authorities’ prohibition on United States and United Kingdom-produced Covid-19 vaccines, a lack of transparency, and mismanagement have all exacerbated the impact of the pandemic in Iran, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Thursday(link is external).

“Iranian authorities should urgently redouble efforts to respond effectively to the crisis, including by using all resources necessary to secure lifesaving vaccines,” the international rights organization said, adding that officials have blamed sanctions and delays in importing vaccines, as well as each other, for the slow roll out of the vaccination problem, without providing clear evidence.

In a televised speech August 11, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called for swift, decisive action to contain the pandemic and stressed that vaccines should be imported “in any possible way.” The head of Iran’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Mohammad-Reza Shanehsaz, said Monday that a permit had been issued to import Pfizer and Moderna vaccines made outside the United States – thereby easing a ban set by Khamenei in January on US- and UK-made vaccines, a time when these were the only ones internationally approved.

Escalating health crisis

Iran faces an escalating health crisis. As of Thursday, Iran had reported more than 100,000 deaths and 4.6 million Covid cases, but from almost the onset of the pandemic many health experts and officials have said the health ministry’s numbers do not reflect reality, with some estimating the real number of deaths 2.5 times higher. With nearly 7,500 patients in hospital, many officials say health care is under a burden that it may not be able to handle if the situation further deteriorates.

According to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC)-affiliated Tasnim news agency, Iran imported 22.6 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines as of August 15, of which 2.2 million doses came through the World Health Organization’s Covax program. Iran has purchased 16.8 million doses from Covax but has refused delivery of US-made Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Iran has received over 2.9 million doses of Japanese-made AstraZeneca and has also bought South Korean- and Italian-made AstraZeneca purchased through Covax.

Source: Iran International

Also Read: Lawyers, Activists Arrested as they Attempt to Sue State for Failed COVID Response

Latest news
Related news