Iran to purchase 60 million Sputnik V vaccine doses
Iran has signed a deal with Russia to purchase 60 million doses of the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, according to state media.
Kazem Jalali, Tehran's ambassador to Moscow, told state-run IRNA news agency that the doses from the deal with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) would arrive in Iran between June and December.
He added that two Iranian companies have already signed deals with Russia to jointly produce vaccines inside the country.
Concerns about the safety and efficacy of the Russian-made vaccine were allayed in February, when a study published by British medical journal The Lancet found that it was 91.6% effective against symptomatic Covid-19.
A recent US study, however, has found the shot is less effective against the South African variant of Covid-19.
Iran is approaching the end of a 10-day lockdown to stem the fourth wave of the virus, triggered in part by a two-week holiday for Persian New Year which saw increased travel, relaxed restrictions and large gatherings without precautions.
State media reported on April 15 that the coronavirus is killing one Iranian every four minutes. On Sunday, the death toll climbed to over 400 people.
Read more: Iran sees highest daily death toll in months as virus surges
The Iranian economy is reeling under punishing US sanctions and the government has said it cannot sustain total lockdown without risking economic collapse.
The country’s vaccination program has been slow, with Iran producing and promoting a range of domestically made alternatives while warning against those imported from the West.
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