EghtesadOnline: Iran will be kicking off its mass vaccination campaign in the coming days, as it is scheduled to receive on Thursday its first shipment of the Russian-developed Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V as well as 4.2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine later in February.
“The Sputnik vaccine is over 95% effective and has been approved by Iran Food and Drug Administration,” Mohammad Reza Shanehsaz, the head of Iran’s FDA, was quoted as saying by IRNA.
His remarks were in response to mounting criticism by the public against the purchase of the Russian-produced vaccine.
Peer-reviewed results published by The Lancet international medical journal on Tuesday alleviated concerns over Sputnik V, showing that the shot is safe and effective in a study involving about 20,000 people.
Health Minister Saeed Namaki also pointed out that at least a dozen countries, including Brazil, Argentina and Malaysia, are using Sputnik V to immunize their population.
The minister said, “The pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca will begin delivering 4.2 million shots of its vaccine via COVAX in February.”
COVAX is a World Health Organization-backed initiative that aims to secure fair access to coronavirus vaccines for poor countries.
Iran’s jointly produced vaccine with Cuba has entered its third and last phase of human trials over the next few weeks, Alireza Biglari, the head of Pasteur Institute of Iran, said.
“The vaccine’s production will take place both in Iran and Cuba. From the first months, based on our estimations in June, we’ll be able to produce two million doses a month,” he said.
Namaki said another local firm, Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute is planning to launch the first phase of human testing for its vaccine next week.
According to an official with the Health Ministry, the mass production of at least one domestic vaccine will start by June.
Three local companies have obtained regulatory approval for human trials and at least three other vaccine candidates are in the pipeline.
“Over 6,800 tested positive for Covid-19 within one day, taking the case tally to 1.438 million,” Sima Sadat Lari, spokeswoman for the Health Ministry, announced on Wednesday.
The ministry also registered 79 overnight deaths, bringing the national toll to 58,190, the official said.
“More than 1.22 million have recovered from the respiratory disease and 3,838 are in critical condition,” she said.
Iran has carried out some 9.4 million diagnostic tests since the start of the deadly outbreak.
Countries around the world have reported 104.48 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 2.264 million fatalities.