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Washington's Sanctions Should Not Bar Iran From Getting US Vaccines, Health Ministry Says

The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus is now over 1.4 million, while the global case tally is more than 60 million. Scientists are working on vaccines in order to stop the global pandemic, as a new wave has forced multiple countries to re-impose lockdowns or severe restrictions.

TEHRAN (Sputnik) - US sanctions should not prevent Iran from receiving vaccines against the coronavirus disease from US companies via the WHO-backed COVAX facility on fair vaccine procurement, Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari has told Sputnik.

Earlier in the month, US pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna announced preliminary results of phase 3 clinical trials of their respective vaccines, each showing over 90 percent effectiveness.

"These two US companies are also in the basket of COVAX. The COVAX mechanism implies timely and fair access to coronavirus vaccines for all countries. Of course, the tyrannical and unilateral sanctions should not and cannot affect this mechanism," Lari said when asked if Tehran is ready to purchase a US vaccine.

The issue of availability of medical goods and services across the globe has become even more pressing amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and various initiatives, including the ACT-Accelerator, which involves the World Health Organization, the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, are seeking to resolve the issue. As part of such initiative, COVAX aims to facilitate development, manufacture and distribution of vaccines against the coronavirus disease.

Iran has joined the initiative, but its advance payments for vaccines have reportedly been held up due to the US sanctions.

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