With the ongoing acute financial and food crisis leaving millions of Iranians suffering heavily, rogue mullah regime in Iran are forcing people in buying the Pfizer vaccine in Tehran for 25 to 60 million tomans (Iranian currency), which is equivalent to US$ 1,036~US$ 2.488. According to Iran News Wire, the vaccines are being sold in parts of the capital equipped with modern refrigeration systems at such exorbitant price. Two vaccine doses are sold from between 25 to 60 million tomans. The price difference depends on the vaccination sites and point of contact. Another source said, several key figures of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) are mainly controlling the vaccine business.
Locals said, unofficial vaccine market in Iran has flourished because COVID vaccination in the country has stopped due to shortage of second doses leaving thousands of Iranians desperately searching for vaccines in the black market. Those in need of vaccines are introduced through “trusted” sources and by presenting their national ID, people can have access into the “unofficial” market for buying Pfizer vaccines.
It may be mentioned here that, through a televised speech on January 8, 2021, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei banned the import of vaccines manufactured in the US and Britain.
Iran has imported the Russian and Chinese vaccine and started vaccination on the elderly (over 75 years old) and healthcare employees, however, vaccination was stopped in the past two weeks. Meanwhile, Iran is witnessing a fifth peak of the pandemic outbreak resulting in death of thousands of people.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Ministry of Health announced that its domestic COVIran Barakat Vaccine has been authorized for use, although according to the Head of Medicine Affairs Organization, tasked with authorizing vaccines, the third phase trials of COVIran has not yet completed.
According to unofficial figures announced by the Paris based NCRI opposition group, over 312,200 people have died in Iran from COVID-19. Iran’s Health Ministry has put the fatalities at 82,351 but many health officials have noted that the actual death toll is much higher.
Iran’s vaccine black market
The location of a vaccine black market is in a semi-office building on one of the streets in the northern part of Tehran. People are allowed to enter with prior coordination and by mentioning the name of the agent of the black market. Vaccine-seekers are allowed to enter only when there is a group of five people. Each of the vial is used for 5 to 6 people. Vaccine-seekers gather in one room, show their national ID and passport and the pay 16 million tomans for the first dose and another 9 million tomans as deposit for the second dose, which would be available after three weeks. All the procedures are conducted by intermediaries. But, primary concern of most of the vaccine-seekers is the quality of the vaccine, while many even questions, if those at all were genuine Pfizer vaccine. Some locals claim, organized crime rackets are changing the label of vaccines with that of Pfizer, while some rackets are even manufacturing fake vaccines and distributing into Iranian black market.
According to Mojtaba Barbour, a member of the Union of Drug Importers in Iran, medicines and life-saving drugs are no secret. Importers of medicine and medical equipment, pharmacists, doctors and even health officials are aware of the fact. Currently drugs are smuggled into Iran through four different routes – Iraq, the UAE, Turkey and Azerbaijan.
According to the World Health Organization, Pfizer vaccines need to be supplied through prescribed cooling system. Otherwise it can be termed as not fit for vaccination. Iranians believe, they are being fooled with counterfeit Pfizer vaccines, as there is no legal import or manufacturing facilities of the vaccine in Iran. In this case, it is highly anticipated that the crime rackets controlled by IRGC are selling so-called Pfizer vaccines by filling vial with a placebo or distilled water using manual technology. People cannot verify the vaccines they are buying by spending thousands of dollars.
Mojtaba Barbour further said, Pakistan is one of the largest producers of counterfeit drugs in the world. It is not impossible that Pakistanis are involved in manufacturing counterfeit Pfizer vaccines and selling to black markets in Iran and other countries. Health experts say, since vaccines are biological products, if those are produced with counterfeit substance, it can potentially cause massive health hazards.
In brief, lives of the Iranian people are in real danger.
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