Indian, Chinese coronavirus vaccines awaiting Iran's approval

February 12, 2021 - 16:51

TEHRAN – The Food and Drug Organization of Iran is weighing up importing India’s Bharat Biotech and China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines in a bid to boost the country’s drive against the disease.

“In addition to importing Russian vaccine, Sputnik V, and its production by the end of the current [Iranian calendar] year (March 20), importing two other foreign-made vaccines, namely India’s Bharat Biotech and China’s Sinopharm, are currently under investigation,” FDA spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on Friday, IRNA reported.

For the time being, only Sputnik V has met the importation requirements, he said, adding that the documentation of the Bharat Biotech vaccine has been completed and is passing the judgment phase. Sinopharm is also working to complete its documentation process.

On January 27, Health Minister Saeed Namaki said that there are four different ways to supply the coronavirus vaccine, including direct purchase from a foreign country, procurement from the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility, a joint production with a Cuban company as well as domestic production of the vaccine.

The first consignment of Sputnik V, the Russian-made vaccine for the coronavirus, was imported on February 2.

“We have signed an agreement with the Russian side to receive two million doses of the vaccine,” ISNA quoted Mohammad Reza Shanehsaz, head of the Food and Drug Administration, as saying.

This is for ten thousand people, he said, adding that the next batches will be imported within the next one or two months.

“Of course, we will not import just the Russian-made vaccine. There are other reliable sources, as well that have successfully passed clinical phases and we will receive them by the end of the [Iranian calendar] year (March 20).”

Importing vaccine from COVAX, a global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, is also on the agenda, he noted.

On February 5, the Iranian Ambassador to the UK Hamid Baeidinejad wrote on his Instagram page that 4.2 million doses of the Anglo-Swedish AstraZeneca vaccine will be imported in the near future within the framework of the agreement with COVAX.

MG

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