YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — A surge of new coronavirus infections in Iran fueled by the fast-spreading delta variant has threatened to overwhelm hospitals. Thousands of desperate Iranians are taking matters into their own hands and flocking to neighboring Armenia as the urgency of vaccination grows. Vaccine uptake has remained sluggish in the ex-Soviet Caucasus nation amid widespread vaccine hesitancy. Authorities have been doling out free doses to foreign visitors. That has been a boon for Iranians afraid for their lives and sick of waiting. Iran has the highest COVID-19 death toll in the Middle East, less than 2% of the country’s 84 million people have received both doses. But the trip has become so popular for Iranians that the price of the journey is soaring.
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