EghtesadOnline: Six million doses of Sinopharm vaccines arrived at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport on Sept. 26, bringing the total volume of imported Covid-19 vaccines to 71.32 million doses, Mehrdad Jamal Arvanaghi, the technical deputy of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, said.
Noting that plans are underway to import 10 million doses of Johnson & Johnson, as well as Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, he said part of the consignment is expected to arrive this week, IRNA reported.
“It has been planned to import 14 million more vaccines in the first week of the current [Iranian] month [Sept. 24-Oct. 9],” he was quoted as saying earlier.
More than half of the vaccines were imported in the sixth month of the current fiscal year (Aug. 23-Sept. 22).
The first shipment of single-dose Covid-19 vaccines for the 3-17-year age-group has been imported via Imam Khomeini customs terminal, according to the secretary-general of Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“Today, six million doses of single-dose Covid-19 vaccines out of a total of 12 million doses recommended for the 3-17-year age-group entered the country and were delivered to the Health Ministry,” Mohammad Hassan Qousian-Moqaddam was quoted as saying by IRIB News on Sept. 26.
Sinopharm has had the lion's share of imported vaccines.
The total value of all Covid-19 vaccines imported to Iran from Feb. 3 to Sept. 12 stood at $421 million, Arvanaghi said earlier.
“Each Sinopharm vaccine made in China costs $9.2, AstraZeneca made in China $4, AstraZeneca made in Japan $4, COVAX made in Italy $4, Sputnik V made in Russia $10, AstraZeneca made in Russia $6.5, COVAX made in South Korea $4 and AstraZeneca made in Austria $4 and Bharat [COVAXIN] made in India $14.5,” he said.
“Some of the imported vaccines have been donated to Iran and the import process continues.”
Nasser Riahi, the chairman of Iranian Pharmaceutical Importers Association, said 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines will have been imported to Iran by the end of 2021, as per contracts signed with international manufacturers.
The private sector representative said Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as COVAX, is a vaccine-sharing program coordinated by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organization to ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines for poor and middle-income countries.
Riahi said Iran’s share of COVAX-supplied doses is estimated to stand at 16.8 million for 25% of the population.
“Iran needs to purchase vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna supplied by the COVAX via World Health Organization due to banking issues. The country pays its financial commitments to WHO that pays the vaccine manufacturers,” he said.
“Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are ready to send 20 million doses of their Covid-19 vaccines to Iran each but such imports might take months due to restrictions regarding temperature requirements for shipping and storage.”
Riahi noted that contracts were signed for importing 30-50 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine from Russia, but the neighboring country failed to fully deliver on its promises.
“Fifty million doses of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine are expected to be imported from China ... Vaccine imports from South Korea and China will continue. A part of Bharat Biotech’s vaccines scheduled to be purchased from India did not materialize due to certain problems while imports of AstraZeneca’s vaccines are ongoing from different countries,” he said.
The vaccination process in Iran has gained pace as the new administration led by Ebrahim Raeisi has put it on top of its agenda.
The number of coronavirus patients admitted to hospitals across Iran over the past 24 hours has dropped below 2,000, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.
“Over the past 24 hours, 13,792 new cases of Covid-19 infection were reported, 1,926 of whom were hospitalized,” the Health Ministry’s statement read.
It put the total death toll from Covid-19 in Iran at 119,360, saying the disease has taken the lives of 288 patients over the past 24 hours.
More than 4,944,000 individuals have recovered or been discharged from hospitals out of a total of 5,533,000 who have contracted the disease, the ministry added.
Some 6,320 Covid-19 patients are being treated in intensive care units, it said.
The ministry also said 35.49 million Iranians have received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, while over 15.46 million have received the second dose, Tasnim News Agency reported.