Iran receives 150,000 doses of India's Covid jab

Iran has received a shipment of 150,000 doses of an Indian Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin, local media reported Thursday, as the Islamic republic combats the Middle East's deadliest outbreak of the illness. AFP reports. 

"The coronavirus vaccine shipment from India arrived at (Tehran's) Imam Khomeini airport containing 150,000 doses," deputy customs chief Mehrdad Jamal Arvanaghi told ISNA news agency.

Iran, which is in its second month of a vaccination campaign, is to receive another 375,000 doses from India next week, the health ministry's public relations head Kianoush Jahanpour announced on Twitter.

The country of more than 80 million has lost more than 61,000 lives out of over 1.7 million cases of Covid-19 infection, according to health ministry figures.

Tehran, using multiple sources, started its national vaccination campaign on February 9, but the number of people inoculated to date has not been announced.

It has bought a total of two million doses of Russia's Sputnik V, according to Jahanpour, to be delivered in stages.

He said Tehran plans to launch the local manufacture of the Russian jab before the start of the new Iranian year on March 21.

"36 to 40 million doses of Sputnik V will be produced and distributed" in the upcoming year, he was quoted as saying on the government's website.

Iran also received 250,000 doses of China's Sinopharm vaccine on February 28, after Jahanpour announced they were donated by the Chinese government.

Health Minister Saeed Namaki has said Iran will likewise receive 4.2 million doses of the vaccine developed by Anglo-Swedish firm AstraZeneca and Oxford University, purchased via the international vaccine mechanism Covax.

At the same time, Iran is working on locally developed vaccine projects. According to Iranian media, three homegrown vaccine projects have reached the clinical trials phase since December.


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