Speeding up vaccination atop agenda: health minister

September 1, 2021 - 17:28

TEHRAN - Accelerating the pace of vaccination against COVID-19 is the top priority of the government, Health Minister Bahram Einollahi has said.

The vaccination procedure will gain momentum over the next few weeks, he wrote on his Twitter account on Wednesday.

In a televised interview on Tuesday, the health minister said the whole population vaccination is hoped to be completed by mid-February next year, IRNA reported.

Meanwhile, deputy health Minister Alireza Raisi said on Tuesday that five million doses of coronavirus vaccines will be imported on a weekly basis as of the next week.

Raisi said in august that negotiation was underway with one or two European countries to purchase Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines.

Referring to good efforts made to import vaccines, he said: “By the end of September, we will definitely import about 30 million doses of vaccine. With another memorandum of understanding from October, we will receive another 30 million doses.

So, if we receive 60 million doses of vaccine, we can vaccinate the age group of 30 by the beginning of November.”

As per contracts signed with international manufacturers, some 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine should be imported by the end of 2021, Nasser Riyahi, the head of the Association of Medicine Importers, has said.

On August 25, World Health Organization (WHO) representative to Iran Jaffar Hussain announced that three million doses of vaccine will be delivered soon to the country under the COVAX facility.

The Iranian Red Crescent Society head Karim Hemmati said on August 26 that a total of 20.390 million doses of the vaccine have been imported so far.

Meanwhile, President Ebrahim Raisi has confirmed that 30 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be imported.

In his August 11 televised address, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested that containing the rapidly increasing wave of the Coronavirus is the first and foremost issue of the country.

Placing great emphasis on the fulfillment of duties and the implementation of decisions regarding the Coronavirus pandemic, Ayatollah Khamenei said “the vaccine, whether imported or domestically produced, must be provided with double effort and in any way possible made available to all people."

Domestically-made vaccines

Mass vaccination against COVID-19 started on Iranian citizens with the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine on February 9.

While Iran continues efforts to mass-produce local candidates, over 21 million doses of foreign vaccines have already been imported and others are expected soon.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, 14 vaccines are being domestically developed in the country which are in different study phases.

COVIRAN BAREKAT, the first Iranian-made coronavirus vaccine, is in the process to be registered by the World Health Organization, Asghar Abdoli, an expert in the vaccine production project, has stated.

The whole process of the vaccine development and clinical trials must be presented in detail from the beginning, which we are doing, he said, adding, “in addition to presenting the documents, we must also defend our scientific achievements in person.”

“Our first article on the pre-clinical phase of COVIRAN vaccine will be published soon.”

Vaccine development technical knowledge is native to the country. In other words, the whole process is carried out in Iran, he noted.

The Iranian-Australian coronavirus vaccine Spikogen started the third phase of the clinical trial with the participation of 17,000 people on August 7.

The first phase of the study was performed on volunteer Australians and received the necessary approval, the second phase was administrated to 400 Iranians, which has had no serious side effects, Payam Tabarsi, researcher of the vaccine study project said.

The second human testing showed good results, with 70 percent antibody, he stated, adding, the delta variant is now very strong and many vaccines have not been effective against the mutant.

Iran is also producing vaccines jointly with two countries of Cuba and Russia, which may also be released by September.

The Iranian-made Sputnik vaccine is undergoing the final testing phase, and Pastu Covac received the emergency use license.