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Iran approves U.S. J&J COVID shot as fifth wave spreads By Reuters


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(Reuters) – Iran’s new government has approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by U.S. firm Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:), a senior official said on Thursday, as the Islamic Republic faces a fifth wave of infections.

This announcement comes eight months after the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Muhammad Ali Khamenei prohibited imports of vaccines produced by Britain or America. Iran, however has since accepted vaccines created by Western corporations but made in Iran.

President Ebrahim Raisi’s administration is under public pressure to broaden its sources of vaccines as infections mount in the deadliest wave it has seen.

“The Johnson & Johnson single-dose corona vaccine has been approved,” the head of Iran’s Food and Drug Administration, Mohammad Reza Shanehsaz, was quoted as saying by Iranian media. 

The ban was not mentioned or mentioned by him.

In January, Khamenei banned the government from importing COVID-19 vaccines from United States and Britain, saying both countries were “untrustworthy”. Later, Khamenei stated that the ban applied to vaccines produced in these two countries.

On Thursday, Shanehsaz said Russia’s single-component Sputnik Light vaccine had also been approved.

“Fortunately, the basket of the Corona vaccines registered in Iran has become very diverse and large,” he added.

Iran is trying to speed up vaccinations by using imported doses – including Sputnik V, India’s Covaxin made by Bharat Biotech, and the British-developed Oxford/AstraZeneca shot produced by Russia’s R-Pharm group and AstraZeneca-SKBio in South Korea. Iran uses its COVIran Barakat shot.

According to the health ministry, 13 million of Iran’s 83 million population have been inoculated.

On Thursday, 18,021 cases of new infection were reported by the ministry. This brings the total number of infections to 5,378,408 for Iran, which is the most affected country in the Middle East. The number of deaths rose 6981 to 116 072.

(; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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