Iran receives first batch of Russian-made COVID-19 vaccines
Iran Press TV
Thursday, 04 February 2021 3:23 PM
Iran has imported the first consignment of Russian COVID-19 vaccines from Moscow after the cure's remarkable rate of efficacy was verified by domestic authorities.
The 7584 Mahan Air Flight loaded the cargo comprising the Sputnik-V vaccines on Thursday and touched down at Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport around four hours later at 15:50 pm. Local time (1220 GMT). The vaccines have been scheduled to be handed over to the Health Ministry.
Iran's Ambassador to Moscow Kazem Jalali said the shipment was made possible after the two sides signed an agreement on January 29 to enable joint work on the vaccine's production. He reminded that the agreement had been preceded by persevering efforts on the part of the Embassy and talks between Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
The Islamic Republic is to receive two more such cargos in February. One is to reach the country by February 18 and the next one would arrive by February 28, the envoy said.
According to health officials, the first stage of the imports is to see arrival of 500,000 doses of the vaccine in the country.
Jalali said following the third shipment, more cargoes are to be sent over at respectively two-week- and one-month-long intervals.
Sputnik-V has proven efficient in curing the potentially fatal respiratory disease in 91.6 percent of the cases.
The medical journal the Lancet has published an article proving its effectiveness based on trial vaccination of nearly 22,000 volunteers. Seventy-five percent of the participants received the vaccine, while the rest were given placebos.
A fourth of the volunteers had background diseases that are considered to be an important factor leading to infection.
Only three volunteers suffered death. Those used to have severe background diseases and their deaths did not appear to be related to the injections.
The effectiveness of the vaccine, therefore, ranks as high as those produced by American pharmaceutical giants Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna or AstraZeneca, a similar British company.
Iran's agreement with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is to herald production of the Russian vaccine on the Iranian soil. A delegation from the Health Ministry is to travel to Moscow in the upcoming days to finalize the talks that usher in the prospect.
The Islamic Republic has also developed its own cure.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has disallowed imports of Western vaccines over side effect concerns.
Last month, Health Minister Saeed Namaki provided scientific reasoning for the rejection of the Western vaccines.
He said the Western vaccines had been produced "based on the mRNA method." Inside the US itself, he added, some articles had been published showing how the approach could manipulate the recipients' immune systems and afflict them with autoimmune diseases. "Even in the US and Europe, many people avoid the vaccines because of these speculations," he said.
Namaki also recalled how the same Western countries had been preventing and severely complicating Iran's access to medicine in compliance with the US sanctions.
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