Domestic Economy

Covid-19 Vaccine Imports Exceed 65 Million Doses

Covid-19 Vaccine Imports Exceed 65 Million Doses
Covid-19 Vaccine Imports Exceed 65 Million Doses

The volume of Covid-19 vaccines imported to Iran has exceeded 65 million doses, as the 56th vaccine shipment containing 5 million doses of Chinese Sinopharm arrived on Sept. 23, according to the technical deputy of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.
“Plans are to import 14 million more doses in the first week of the current [Iranian] month [Sept. 24-Oct. 9],” Mehrdad Jamal Arvanaghi was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
He noted that 10 million doses of Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer -19 vaccines will also be imported soon.
According to the latest statistics released by Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, a total of 65.32 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been imported.
Sinopharm with 55.72 million doses in 33 shipments has had the lion's share among the imported vaccines. More than half of the vaccines were imported in the sixth month of the current fiscal year (Aug. 23-Sept. 22).
The total value of all Covid-19 vaccines imported to Iran from Feb. 3 to Sept. 12 stood at $421 million, he 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,” Arvanaghi said.
“Some of the imported vaccines have been donated to Iran and the import process is continuing.”
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.
“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 due to banking issues. The country pays its financial commitments to the WHO that pays the vaccine manufacturers,” Riahi 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.”
The official noted that contracts were signed for imports of 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 has failed to be imported due to certain problems while imports of AstraZeneca’s vaccines are ongoing from different countries,” he said.  
The vaccination process in Iran has recently gained pace as the new administration led by Ebrahim Raeisi has put it on top of its agenda.
According to the Health Ministry, a total of 33.34 million Iranians have so far received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, with 14.93 individuals having received the second dose, Tasnim News Agency reported on Sept. 23.

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