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Iran: Vaccine From US, Britain Can't Be Trusted

With more than 1.3M infections, nation already is struggling to contain outbreak
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2021 3:30 PM CST
Iran: Vaccine From US, Britain Can't Be Trusted
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addresses the nation in Tehran on Friday.   (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

(Newser) – Calling them "completely untrustworthy," Iran has prohibited importing coronavirus vaccines produced by the US or Britain. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made the announcement Friday in a televised address, the Guardian reports. "It's not unlikely they would want to contaminate other nations," he said. Mentioning the Pfizer vaccine, Khamenei said he'd already informed Iranian officials of his decision, per the Washington Post. "Given our experience with France’s HIV-tainted blood supplies," he said in his speech, "French vaccines aren't trustworthy either." In those cases, prosecutors said people were infected when they received transfusions of HIV-tainted blood that came from France.

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The decision won't help Iran's efforts to get vaccines, which are also impeded by the financial sanctions imposed by the US. Iran said it has produced its own coronavirus vaccine, but only seven people have received it. Phase 1 clinical trials will start soon, the government said, which will include 56 volunteers. Khamenei also said Iran could get vaccines "from other reliable places" but didn't say which countries, per Reuters. Iran has reported that the coronavirus has infected nearly 1.3 million people and killed almost 56,000, the highest numbers in the Middle East. (American philanthropists were planning to send the Pfizer vaccine to Iran.)

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