WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland is donating a million AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots to Iran, the Polish embassy in Tehran said on Thursday, the latest foreign delivery to be made from emerging Europe’s largest economy after a slowdown in its vaccination programme.
Poland, with a population of around 38 million, had fully vaccinated 19.6 million people as of Wednesday, but a slowing rate of uptake has left it with spare doses which it has sent to Egypt, Vietnam, Taiwan, Kenya, Ukraine, Australia and Norway and other places.
Iran’s economy has been hit hard by sanctions reimposed by former U.S. President Donald Trump as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, making it difficult for the country to pay for food and medicine.
While the vaccines sent to Iran were donated free of charge, in some other cases Poland has sold shots on a non-profit basis, Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski said, adding that more than 30 countries had approached Poland concerning vaccine supplies.
“We are doing this to support the Iranian people. It is not a sign of any change in our international policy vis-a-vis Iran,” he said.
(Reporting by Alan Charlish and Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk; Editing by Nick Macfie)