Members of the Iranian parliament have received AstraZeneca as their booster vaccine shot while the brand is not available for other people in the country.
The report about providing AstraZeneca for the lawmakers on Wednesday sparked reactions by Iranians who were desperately looking for the vaccine.
Iran’s health ministry had confirmed the scarcity of AstraZeneca in Iran and urged people to trust the indigenous brands.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei banned the purchase of American and British vaccines in January 2021, which set back Iran’s inoculation effort. Critics say that as a result tens of thousands unnecessarily died in the fifth wave of the pandemic last year.
Iran embarked on the development of homegrown vaccines, spending hundreds of million of dollars with little result. People do not trust what the government encourages them to accept as domestic vaccines.
Under public pressure, the government imported a limited quantity of Indian-produced AstraZeneca in 2021.
Recently the government announced it will stop importing vaccines as local variants would be sufficient for the country.
Enraged by the apparent discrimination in the distribution of vaccines, many people across Iran have decried the inoculation of lawmakers, asking why officials don’t use vaccines made in Iran.