Iran (MNN) — Iran has banned the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines from being used in the country, saying they are untrustworthy. Officials claimed pharmaceutical companies wanted to “test” the vaccines on Iranian citizens.
Mike Ansari of Heart4Iran says this all boils down to international politics. “The Iranian regime is creating mistrust against US and UK vaccines for purely political reasons. Iran has been struggling with Coronavirus infection from the start while wrestling with the consequences of U.S. sanctions. Some predict that Iran’s rejection of the offered vaccine from the West may [procede] the purchase of the Russian or Chinese vaccines.”
The Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine was approved in Russia much earlier than the Pfizer and Moderna shots were in the West, and questions about adequate safety linger. The leading Chinese vaccine, meanwhile, has been shown to be far less effective than advertised.
The Pandemic in Iran
COVID-19 hit Iran hard in February. The country has suffered millions of cases and thousands of deaths. During the pandemic, Heart4Iran’s Mohabat TV has been speaking the Gospel into the crisis. Ansari says, “We have prayed for many people sick with COVID-19. And we have seen some wonderful responses in recovery and healing. During this global lockdown, our virtual church has provided a space for communal fellowship, worship, and high-quality teaching and preaching to isolated believers in Iran.”
The Iranian church found itself well-prepared for lockdown, already making use of digital technology for weekly gatherings. Ansari says, “This was a reminder that the church is not a building. Jesus is still the Lord of the church and is building His church. We can still join together in hearts and minds in worship as a body from around the world in a virtual church. It is the Spirit that unites us together.”
Pray these believers would continue shining the hope of Jesus into their communities as they navigate a continuing pandemic. Pray also that God would provide for his people in difficult financial times and as they face pressure from the authorities.
The header photo shows a scientist researching for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)