RFL/RE – Iran has kicked off its vaccination campaign against COVID-19 using the Russian-developed Sputnik V vaccine.
“The first person to receive the Russian Sputnik vaccine is my own child,” Health Minister Saeed Namaki said at a ceremony at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Hospital, broadcast live on television on February 8.
Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi said that medical personnel treating COVIV-19 patients, the elderly, disabled, and veterans would be among the first Iranians to receive the jab.
The first batch of Sputnik V arrived in Tehran on February 4, and Iranian authorities have said two more shipments were expected by February 18 and 28.
Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour told AFP that the country had purchased 2 million doses of the vaccine.
Peer-reviewed, late-stage trial results published in The Lancet medical journal last week showed the two-dose regimen of Sputnik V was 91.6 percent effective against symptomatic COVID-19.
Namaki has said the country will also receive 4.2 million doses of the vaccine developed by Anglo-Swedish firm AstraZeneca and Oxford University, purchased via the World Health Organization-backed mechanism COVAX.
Iran is also working on locally developed vaccines.
The coronavirus has infected more than 1.4 million people in Iran, the country hardest hit by the pandemic in the Middle East, and killed over 58,500, according to health authorities.