Anger grows among Iranians amid lagging vaccine rollout

Anger grows among Iranians amid lagging vaccine rollout
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Iranians are growing frustrated with their government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, many of whom still have not received their first COVID-19 shot.

 

Iran has sought to make its COVID-19 vaccines in house because the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said it did not trust vaccines manufactured by the U.S. or U.K., and therefore would not allow the country to receive any donations from the countries, the Associated Press reported.

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While Iran has started to receive shots from Russia, China and Japan - both in donations and in deals struck with different countries - a black market has emerged in the country with the price of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine going for as much as $1,350, the AP noted.

Fed up with the slow vaccination rollout and high COVID-19 cases amid ongoing corruption, economic turmoil as the Iran rial continues to plummet in value and water shortages, residents have started to flout local COVID-19 protection measures. Some have stopped staying at home while others have started refusing to wear masks, the wire service reported.

“They want us to accept any situation simply because they failed to do their duty with vaccinations,” one vendor told the AP. “From time to time, they announce that businesses should close because of corona restrictions though it damages our lives.”

Though 16.2 million shots have already been distributed in Iran, only 3.1 million people are fully vaccinated in the country out of its more than 80 million people, per data from the World Health Organization. That accounts for less than five percent of the population.

COVID-19 cases continue to surge with 39,139 confirmed cases reported on Wednesday. The country has regularly reported over 20,000 confirmed cases over the last week. 

Iranian state TV painted a grim picture of the state of the coronavirus in the country on Monday.

"Every two seconds one person gets infected in Iran and almost every two minutes one person dies from the coronavirus," Iranian state TV reported, according to Reuters.