Iran Approves Use Of U.S-Made Johnson & Johnson Coronavirus Vaccine

Authorities in Tehran have approved use of the coronavirus vaccine produced by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson as Iran faces a fifth wave of COVID-19 infections.

"The Johnson & Johnson single-dose corona vaccine has been approved," Mohammad Reza Shanehsaz, head of Iran's Food and Drug Administration, said on September 16.

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Features and analysis, videos, and infographics explore how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the countries in our region.

Shanehsaz said the Russia-developed single-shot Sputnik Light vaccine has also been approved in Iran.

Iran's decision to approve the Johnson & Johnson vaccine comes eight months after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei banned vaccines produced in Britain and the United States, saying those countries were "untrustworthy."

However, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who took office in August, has promised to prioritize combatting the pandemic.

Iran has been using its own COVIran Barakat vaccine, as well as Russia's Sputnik V, India's Covaxin, and a version of the British-developed Oxford/AstraZeneca shot produced by a Russian-South Korea joint venture.

Iran's Health Ministry says about 13 million people out of the country's population of 83 million have been fully vaccinated.

According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, Iran had recorded more than 5,378,000 infections and 116,072 deaths from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, making it the hardest-hit country in the Middle East.

Iran has registered nearly 16,000 COVID-19 deaths in the last 28 days.

Based on reporting by Reuters

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RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

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