Iran says to wait for WHO approval on Russia vaccine

By: AFP      Published: 07:31 PM, 18 Aug, 2020
Iran says to wait for WHO approval on Russia vaccine

Iran said on Tuesday it would wait for the World Health Organization's approval before buying a coronavirus vaccine unveiled last week by Russia.

Russia said on August 11 that it had developed the world's first vaccine offering "sustainable immunity" against COVID-19 and was in the final stage of human trials.

The Islamic republic has struggled to contain the Middle East's worst outbreak of the virus since announcing its first cases in February.

"We are waiting for the international community, including the World Health Organization, (before) we buy the vaccine from Russia," said Alireza Zali, a member of Iran's anti-COVID taskforce.

"In order for the vaccine to be used, genuine and independent organisations such as the World Health Organization must comment on it and approve it, which has not happened yet," he told a news conference in Tehran.

"After scientific approval... we will negotiate with Russia to get the vaccine," said Zali, who oversees efforts against the virus in the Iranian capital.

His remarks came as health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari announced another 168 coronavirus fatalities in the past 24 hours, taking Iran's overall death toll to 19,972.

She also reported another 2,385 new cases of infection over the same period, taking the total number in the country to 347,835.