Envoy: Iran Not to Buy COVID-19 Vaccine from UK
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Ambassador to London Hamid Baeidinejad underlined that purchasing the coronavirus vaccine from the UK is not on Iran's agenda.
"In the UK, more than 10 million people have been vaccinated, but the death toll is still very high," Baeidinejad wrote on his Instagram page while reafirming Iran's position not to purchase coronavirus vaccines from Britain.
He underlined that there was no direct relation between the beginning of vaccination against COVID-19 in the UK and the reduction of the coronavirus death toll.
"Still, the most effective way around the world is to follow health protocols. Maintaining these protocols at the same time as vaccination is the most effective way to confront [the virus]," the Iranian envoy pointed out.
He stressed that no country could protect itself from the consequences of disease's spread only through the vaccination and that it required a global effort as the purpose of COVAX is also to provide the vaccine worldwide.
Baeidinejad voiced his satisfaction over providing the vaccines in Iran, and said that the Sputnik vaccine was purchased and the first shipment arrived on Thursday in Iran, and three domestic vaccines are in the advanced phase of human testing that would reach the production stage.
In relevant remarks on Friday, Head of Iran’s Food and Drug Administration Mohammad Reza Shanehsaz said that Iran has bought 2 million doses of the Russian Sputnik-V COVID-19 vaccine, whose first shipment arrived in Iran on Thursday,
“The first batch of the Russian vaccine arrived in the country today,” Shanehsaz said in a televised interview on Thursday, adding that Tehran has bought 2 million doses of the vaccine.
He noted that the next cargoes will enter Iran very soon.
The official explained that other valid and authorized vaccines have been identified by Iranian experts and that the purchase of vaccines from companies in India and China is on the agenda.
In relevant remarks on Thursday, Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki said that the country will receive 4.2mln doses of coronavirus vaccine this month via the COVAX program.
Namaki said that AstraZeneca Company will initiate the delivery of 4.2mln doses of the coronavirus vaccine to Tehran through the COVAX program from February.
He added that the health ministry intends to import vaccines that are already used and confirmed in other countries.
He also expressed the hope that Tehran would be able to buy the COVID-19 vaccine from two Indian companies in the near future.
His comments came as Iran is in a parallel move trying to produce home-made vaccine to fight against coronavirus.
Chairman of the Headquarters for Executing Imam Khomeini’s Order (HEIKO) Mohammad Mokhber underlined the capability of the Iran-made vaccine to deactivate the new British coronavirus, saying that the country hopes that the vaccine can also resist against other types of COVID-19 virus mutations.
“The Iranian vaccine has shown very excellent performance against the mutated coronavirus spreading in Britain and we hope that the Iran-made vaccine will succeed in confronting the future mutations of the coronavirus too,” Mokhber said on Tuesday.
He added that infrastructures and facilities have been prepared to mass-produce the Iran-made coronavirus vaccine, adding that the country will be ready to produce 12mln to 14mln doses of the vaccine in mid spring.
Mokhber said that a number of world states have demanded to purchase the Iran-made vaccine, stressing that the Iranian citizens are a priority to receive the vaccine.
Namaki said on Sunday that the country will turn into a center for production of coronavirus vaccine in spring given the successful results of the human trial of its home-made vaccines.
“Our country will become one of the poles to produce coronavirus vaccine next spring,” Namaki said.
He stressed the successful results of the human trial of Iran-made coronavirus vaccines, and said, “We are vigorously pursuing the indigenous vaccine, and we import both the COVAX vaccines and vaccines from the safest sources.”
Namaki also underlined the Iranian knowledge-based companies’ capabilities to produce different medical equipment, saying that in the first two months of the coronavirus outbreak in Iran, 300 oxygen-generator systems and 5,000 oxygen capsules were manufactured in the country.
He added that the health ministry has increased 2,500 ICU beds at hospitals across the country after the coronavirus outbreak.
Also, on Sunday, Spokesman of Iran's Food and Drug Organization (IFDA) Kianoush Jahanpour said that the coronavirus vaccine developed by the Headquarters for Executing Imam Khomeini’s Order (HEIKO) affiliated to Barekat Foundation in Iran enjoys the unique capability to deactivate the COVID-19 virus mutations in Britain and South Africa.
“The coronavirus vaccine produced by Barekat Foundation is highly effective in fighting coronavirus,” Jahanpour said.
“The Iranian coronavirus vaccine has surprised the world because it is being manufactured in the best conditions and with very high quality and is in the final stages, and we hope that a mass production license will be issued in the middle of the third phase (of human trial) and it will be available in late spring next year,” he added.
“One of the advantages of the Iranian coronavirus vaccine compared to other vaccines in the world is its unique ability to affect the British virus mutation and it has been able to overcome the disease based on clinical tests,” Jahanpour said.
Also, on Saturday, senior member of Iran’s National Task Force for Fighting Coronavirus Minou Mohraz also said that the coronavirus vaccine produced by her country’s scientists has proved efficient in preventing the coronavirus mutations spreading in Britain and South Africa.
“The vaccine produced by the HEIKO is capable of fighting against the British coronavirus,” Mohraz, also a senior member of the team to assess the efficiency of the Iran-made vaccine, said.
She explained that the Iranian health ministry provided the HEIKO with a sample of the mutated virus which is 70% more viral than the normal coronavirus which makes it more lethal, and tests on the blood plasma of the first three volunteers who had received the Iran-made vaccine jabs showed 100% efficiency, meaning that all the mutated COVID-19 viruses have been killed.
Also, Head of the HEIKO's Coronavirus Research Team Hassan Jalili said that “tests have shown that the blood plasma of the first people who were injected with Co-Iran Barekat vaccine in the clinical trial phase has been able to fully deactivate the mutated virus of the British coronavirus”.
Last week, Mokhber had also said that the country is the only producer of a vaccine which is effective on the coronavirus mutations spreading in Britain and South Africa.
“The only vaccine without side effects which is efficient on the mutated coronavirus is being developed by the HEIKO,” Mokhber said.
“The Equipment has been developed to produce 100,000 vaccine doses per month,” he added.
Mokhber noted that Iran has gone through 6 different project platforms to produce coronavirus vaccine with successful results, and said, “The clinical trial of one of the vaccines has started and three more will be completed by the end of the year."
Mokhber said earlier this month that the first phase of human test for COVIRAN Barekat has been successful and no side effects have been reported from the vaccine.
“Two to three million doses of the vaccine will be produced in the country by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20),” he went on to say.
The official noted that the first phase of the human trial on 21 volunteers is about to finish, and added that the vaccine will be available to the public in spring.
“It will be given to people cheaper than the foreign sample and Iran will become self-sufficient in this field,” Mokhber stressed.
Earlier, Mokhber said that Iran has been among four countries acquiring know-how to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines, adding that medical success continued in the country despite the US sanctions.
After injecting the home-grown vaccine to the first volunteer, the World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson welcomed Iranian success by saying, "WHO welcomes all vaccine development programs around the world."
In relevant remarks earlier this month, Mohraz said that the Iran-made coronavirus vaccine which has been injected to 30 volunteers in 2 stages has not shown any side effects so far.
“The vaccine, which underwent its first test on January 29 and received the approval of the ethics committee, is under the supervision of me and two of my colleagues and is undergoing a clinical trial phase. Our goal in the first phase of the clinical trial is to evaluate the side effects and fortunately, the volunteers didn't show any special side effects, and the vaccine was given to them for the second time,” the official said.
She noted that 30 people have received the vaccine so far, and said, “The vaccine is gradually being injected and after the approval of the assessment and supervising group, more volunteers will receive the testing shots.”
“Once the first phase proves successful, the second phase will continue with 300 volunteers,” Mohraz said.