January 30, 2021
One of Iran’s leading health experts has warned against the Russian vaccine for coronavirus, which Iran is due to receive in a matter of days.
Iranian government officials announced that the first shipment of the vaccine will be imported to Iran before February 11. But Minoo Mohrez, a leading member of the Coronavirus Taskforce’s scientific committee, has said she would personally not have the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.
Hungary is the only country to have given preliminary approval for the vaccine. In an interview with Jahan-e-Sanat newspaper, Mohraz pointed out that the Sputnik V Russian coronavirus vaccine had so far not been officially approved by any country and said the decision to “provide and import the Russian vaccine by our government is a misfortune for our people.”
Minoo Mohraz indicated she was not alone in her assessment. ”In our opinion, a vaccine is standard when it is approved by an international body, one of which is the World Health Organization; the other is the Food and Drug Administration of the European Union.” She added that the Russians were reluctant to share vaccine information, which goes against the spirit of solidarity many countries have embraced as part of the global fight against coronavirus.
Speaking in Moscow, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made the surprise announcement that Iran had approved the vaccine on Tuesday, January 26.
Kianoosh Jahanpour, a spokesperson for the Food and Drug Administration of Iran (FDA), confirmed the organization had issued an emergency license for the Sputnik vaccine, which was produced by the Russian Gamali company.
“Since when has our Food and Drug Administration become an international source [for vaccine approval]?” Minoo Mohraz asked. “The FDA can only approve drugs and vaccines if the drug or vaccine has already been approved by the World Health Organization.”
The announcement comes two weeks after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei controversially banned the import of World Health Organization-approved vaccines manufactured by the United States and the United Kingdom.