Iran has set a target of providing vaccinations to 56 million to reach herd immunity against the coronavirus pandemic, according to the head of Iranian health ministry information center Kianoush Jahanpour.
“Iran should inoculate 56 million people to reach herd immunity,” said Jahanpour on Sunday as he discussed the country’s latest efforts to expand a newly-initiated vaccination drive against the pandemic.
Jahanpour did not elaborate when Iran would be able to meet the target. However, he insisted that the country would have access to tens of millions of doses of coronavirus vaccines within few months.
He said that some 16.8 million doses of vaccines that will be supplied to Iran under COVAX, a project sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), would only serve around 15 percent of the country’s total demand for coronavirus vaccines.
The official reiterated previous statements suggesting that Iran will rely on home-grown vaccine industry for a bulk of its inoculation needs, adding that Iranian pharmaceutical companies will be able to supply jabs to other countries once domestic production of vaccines scales up in the next few months.
Iran has three home-made vaccine candidates to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. One of the vaccines, being developed in collaboration with Cuban scientists, is expected to hit the markets sooner than others in April.
Vaccine supplies from Russia and China are being used in a first phase of the vaccination campaign which covers the frontline healthcare workers and the vulnerable people across Iran.
Iran’s health minister Saeid Namaki said he will announce a clear timetable on production and supply of all home-made vaccines in Iran on Tuesday when he attends a ceremony in the Iranian defense ministry to unveil a fourth domestic vaccine candidate.