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Iran approves 2 single-dose COVID vaccines for emergency use

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file photo a dose of the Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccine is prepared at a mobile vaccination clinic at the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA in Los Angeles, California on August 7, 2021. (AFP photo)

Head of Iran’s Food and Drug Organization says it has approved two single-dose coronavirus vaccines as the country is trying to control infections and deaths caused by the disease with a ramp up in vaccinations.

Mohammad Reza Shanehsaz said on Thursday that coronavirus vaccine developed by US-based company Johnson & Johnson and Russia’s Sputnik Light had been granted with emergency use approval.

Shanehsaz did not elaborate on the manufacturing country of the J&J vaccine as Iran has previously refused to take delivery of jabs produced inside the United States or in Britain.

However, he slammed foreign firms who had refused to supply coronavirus vaccines to Iran earlier this year apparently under pressure from the United States.

“Unfortunately foreign companies who were frugal in supplying vaccines needed by Iran ... they harmed their own economies and failed to have a share of the Iranian vaccine market,” Shanehsaz was quoted  as saying by the ISNA news agency.

The official was referring to reports earlier this year suggesting that Western companies had delayed or cancelled vaccine supplies destined for Iran either because of payment issues caused by US sanctions on Iran or because of direct US pressure.

That comes as US authorities have denied sanctions on Iran affect supplies of medicines and other humanitarian items.

Iranian authorities insist vaccine supplies from abroad accelerated once homegrown jabs started to hit the market in mid-summer.

Iran has already approved three home-developed vaccines along with a handful of foreign made jabs, including those registered in the US and Britain, to use them in its nationwide vaccination campaign against the disease.

The campaign has accelerated in recent weeks with increased vaccine imports from China and other countries.

Latest health ministry figures show more than 13 million Iranians have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus while nearly 20 million others have received at least one vaccine.

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