Iran set to import 100m doses of COVID-19 vaccines by yearend

One hundred million doses of Covid-19 vaccines will be imported by the end of 2021 as per contracts signed with international manufacturers, Nasser Riahi, the chairman of Iranian Pharmaceutical Importers Association, told IRNA on Sunday.

31 August 2021
ID : 33031
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One hundred million doses of Covid-19 vaccines will be imported by the end of 2021 as per contracts signed with international manufacturers, Nasser Riahi, the chairman of Iranian Pharmaceutical Importers Association, told IRNA on Sunday. 

More than 28 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been imported so far, according to the technical deputy of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.

“The imported shipments include 22.35 million doses of Sinopharm China in 23 shipments, 2.91 million doses of AstraZeneca from Japan in three shipments, 1.45 million doses of COVAX from Italy in a single shipment, 1.04 million doses of Sputnik V from Russia in the form of 11 shipments, 700,800 doses of COVAX from South Korea, 315,000 doses of AstraZeneca from Russia in a single shipment and 125,000 doses of Bharat [COVAXIN] from India in a single shipment. In total, imports stand at 28.89 million doses in the form of 41 shipments till date,” Mehrdad Jamal Orounaqi was also quoted as saying by IRIB News on Aug. 26.

Riahi, who is a private sector representative, urged the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as COVAX, which 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.

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 the World Health Organization. The country makes financial payments to the 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 Covid-19 vaccines to Iran each but such imports might take months due to restrictions imposed over 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, half of which has been received so far. Vaccine imports from South Korea and China will continue. A part of Bharat Biotech’s vaccines scheduled to be purchased from India failed due to certain problems while the import of AstraZeneca vaccines are continuing from different countries,” he said.   

Noting that the private sector is not currently importing vaccines, Riahi said private sector companies are ready to import vaccines on a not-for-profit basis and with the license issued by the Health Ministry to deliver them to the government at the airport or put them at the disposal of companies that are willing to vaccinate their staff members. 

“The private sector has imported two million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines so far. I’m asking the new health minister to change current conditions to facilitate transactions and accelerate vaccine imports,” he concluded.

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