Iran says to buy 2 million doses of Pfizer vaccine

TEHRAN, Iran (AFP) — Iran is considering the purchase of two million doses of the US-German Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, an official said Tuesday, as the country continues to battle the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak.

“A contract is being drawn up with the Iranian foreign exchange office for the import within one to two months of two million doses of the Pfizer vaccine produced in Belgium,” said senior health official Mohammad-Reza Shanehsaz.

“At present, six vaccines — Sputnik, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Bharat, Pfizer produced in Belgium and Johnson & Johnson produced in Germany — have been given the green light,” he said, quoted by Fars news agency.

The authorities have also approved for emergency use two domestically produced vaccines, including COViran Barekat, which is in short supply.

The Islamic republic has so far received more than 60 million coronavirus vaccine doses, including from China, according to media reports.

It has officially recorded more than 5.4 million Covid-19 cases and nearly 118,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

But in recent days the country’s caseload has begun to decline after peaking in August during a “fifth wave” driven by the Delta variant.

Health authorities acknowledge the official figures underestimate the country’s real toll.

More than 30 million people have received a first vaccine dose and 14.1 million people have been fully inoculated in Iran, a country of about 83 million.

On Sunday, the authorities announced the reopening of museums in Tehran and the country’s main cities, after being largely closed for more than a year due to the pandemic.

© Agence France-Presse