Iran imports Sputnik V vaccine, AstraZeneca on agenda

February 5, 2021 - 15:26

TEHRAN – The first consignment of Sputnik V, the Russian-made vaccine for the coronavirus, was imported on Thursday.

“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 (FDA), 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.

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.

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

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.

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

COVIRAN BAREKAT, the first coronavirus vaccine made by Iranian researchers of the Headquarters for Executing the Order of the Imam, was unveiled and injected into three volunteers during a ceremony on December 29, 2020.

Shanehsaz said on Wednesday that the country’s potentiality in the pharmaceutical sector is so great that every medicine which was introduced to be effective on the coronavirus was produced inside the country within less than three months.

“Test kits and ventilators were also produced and the last measure was the production of vaccines,” he noted.

Currently, 11 knowledge-based companies are working on the five vaccine production methods which are being practiced around the world, he explained.

President Hassan Rouhani has said the government is trying its best to start mass vaccination against the coronavirus by the next two months with the priority given to medical staff and high-risk individuals.

Meanwhile, Iran and Cuba have formed a ‘strategic alliance’ through working jointly on a project for producing a potential coronavirus vaccine.