Iran to begin COVAX COVID-19 vaccination in weeks

March 5, 2021 - 15:21

TEHRAN – Iran will start the first phase of vaccinating prioritized groups against coronavirus using COVAX Facility vaccines as the country is projected to receive one million doses of the vaccine in the next two weeks.

The first batch of COVAX vaccines will be delivered between March 18 and March 28, ISNA quoted Alireza Raeisi, the National Headquarters for Coronavirus Control spokesman, as saying on Friday.

People over the age of 80 and patients suffering from underlying illnesses are the first to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with vaccine doses shipped by the COVAX Facility, he explained.

In December 2020, Christoph Hamelmann, WHO Representative in Iran, said that sanctions imposed by the United States will have no effect on importing coronavirus vaccines by Iran from the COVAX, a global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

“We support and assist Iran in obtaining essential items from the global market, and we did so since the beginning of the pandemic, as we anticipated the provision of medicine to be affected by sanctions,” he added, ILNA reported.

COVAX member states, including Iran, will jointly decide on which brand of vaccine each country to purchase, and the final decision will be announced by the officials, he noted.

In January, the Central Bank of Iran announced an advance payment to purchase 16.8 million doses of coronavirus vaccine through the COVAX, a global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

In order to receive 16.8 million doses of the COVAX vaccine, an advance payment was credited to the World Health Organization with the cooperation of two Iranian banks and three European banks, CBI Governor Abdolnasser Hemmati wrote on his Instagram account.

More budget has been proposed to buy the vaccines, which is awaiting the Ministry of Health’s approval, he added.

In February, the Iranian Ambassador to the UK Hamid Baeidinejad said 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.

Moreover, Food and Drug Administration spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour has said that those other vaccines made in India, China, and Russia are also under evaluation.

In January, 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.

He emphasized that Iran will soon be one of the world’s important manufacturers of the COVID-19 vaccine.


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