Iran to start COVID-19 vaccination before March

TEHRAN, Feb. 02 (MNA) – President Hassan Rouhani says the government is trying its best to start the vaccination against the coronavirus before March.

“As soon as the high-risk groups, including the healthcare and medical personnel, are vaccinated, the situation will improve; then, vaccination of the public will start,” Rouhani said on Tuesday during a video conference inauguration ceremony.

He noted that the government has procured millions of doses of credible COVID-19 vaccines, which will enter the country soon, adding, “The domestically-produced vaccines will hopefully enter the market by summer.”

The Iranian government is striving to supply the need for the coronavirus vaccine with homegrown and foreign products.

Officials say the first batch of Russian-made COVID-19 vaccines will arrive in the country later this week. Civil aviation authority spokesman Mohammad Hassan Zibakhsh said on Monday that Iran’s Mahan Air had been tasked with transporting the first batch of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine into Iran.

Iran is also reportedly planning to start local manufacturing of Sputnik V, a two-shot vaccine that is based on two inactive viruses.

According to the secretary of Biotechnology Development Headquarters of the Iranian Vice Presidency for Science and Technology, Mostafa Ghanei, the country will receive around 16 million doses of vaccine through the World Health Organization's COVAX program, import more than 25 million doses from abroad, and produce 25 million other doses inside the country.

He said the first group of Iranians to get the vaccine this winter are the healthcare and medical personnel, the elderly, people with disabilities, and disabled war veterans.

In spring 2021, those over the age of 65, people with underlying diseases, and those in contact with the public due to their job will receive the coronavirus vaccine, he noted, saying other groups to be injected in summer and fall 2021 will include residents of crowded places and the elderly aged between 55 and 65 without an underlying disease.

Ultimately, all people in Iran will be vaccinated in winter next year, he said.

MR/5137044/IRN84207108

News Code 169401

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