Masoud Pezeshkian, former health minister and member of parliament, told conservative news site Asr-e Iran on Tuesday that the government of President Ebrahim Raisi (Raeesi) deserves no credit for the increasing speed of the Covid vaccination -19 and that the centers of influence had hampered the previous administration of President Hassan Rouhani.
Hard-line supporters have accused the Rouhani government of incompetence in managing Covid. In a comment on Monday, the Mashregh News website said the current daily vaccination of about 1 million people, the highest to date, had “dishonored” the Rouhani administration.
Pezeshkian countered the outright media argument that the new government had improved vaccine delivery, arguing that the procurement process until the actual vaccination took five to six months. “This government has not ordered any vaccine, let it say otherwise if it can,” he said, urging the former head of the Food and Drug Administration of the Ministry of Health, Dr Mohammad. Shanesaz, to shed light on the “if he dared” question.
Iran has now fully vaccinated around 12.5 million people, or about 14% of the population, according to figures released by the health ministry on Tuesday. Johns Hopkins University gives a figure of 15 percent, compared to 49 percent in Turkey, 5 percent in Iraq and 5 percent in Egypt, all countries with roughly comparable populations.
According to the Iranian Customs Organization, imports of Covid vaccines have increased by more than 40% in the past three weeks, from 28 million doses when parliament approved Raisi’s cabinet on August 25 to nearly 47 million .
Health officials say 130 million doses will arrive in the next two months. Chinas Sinopharm accounts for most of the 36 million doses administered.
Revolutionary Guard affiliate Fars News also reported the million figure in a comment Tuesday and praised Raisi for “direct negotiations with vaccine-producing countries. The president spoke by telephone on August 18. with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Fars explained, to speed up the shipment of millions of doses of vaccines purchased by Iran, which lends credence to the Pezeshkians’ argument that the vaccines were ordered before entry according to Raisi.
The Rouhani government had ordered 16.5 million doses through the World Health Organization’s Covax program, but Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei banned the purchase of American vaccines and Birtish Covid in early January, advancing a conspiracy theory that the two countries could not be trusted.
Khamenei’s ban was backed by hard-line supporters who, following his example, said the Iranians could not be used as “guinea pigs” to test Western vaccines. The Rouhani administration reluctantly backed down and sought joint production with Cuba, purchases in several countries including China, Russia and India, and the use of local vaccines as they became available. .
Iran has so far received only 2.1 million doses via Covax. Russia promised more than 60 million doses in February, but delivered only a fraction. Only 365,000 people have received the two doses of Sputnik V required for a full vaccination, and 100,000 are still waiting for the second.
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