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US Philanthropists Getting Vaccine to Iran

Unidentified group aims to ship 150K doses of Pfizer vaccine to hard-hit country
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 28, 2020 10:10 AM CST

(Newser) – An unidentified group of US-based philanthropists plans to send 150,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Iran in the coming weeks, Iranian media reported Monday, per the AP. Details remained scarce in the report by the semiofficial Tasnim News Agency. It quoted the chief of the country's Red Crescent Society as saying he expects the vaccine created by American drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech to be imported by Jan. 19 "based on coordination with a group of benefactors in the US." Iran has struggled to stem the worst virus outbreak in the Middle East, which has infected over 1.2 million people in the nation and killed nearly 55,000.

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Karim Hemmati, the Red Crescent director, said his organization also plans to receive an additional 1 million vaccine doses, which on Sunday the semiofficial Khabaronline.ir website reported would come from China. The vaccines will be offered to citizens free of charge. Officials have said previously that importing the Pfizer vaccine, which must be shipped and stored at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit, poses major logistical challenges for Iran. The nation has signed up for COVAX, an international program designed to distribute coronavirus vaccines to participating countries regardless of their wealth. It's run in part by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which says the US Treasury has already issued a license for Iran to take part.

(Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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