Iran starts COVID vaccine exports, first cargo shipped to Nicaragua
Iran has started exports of coronavirus vaccines just six months after it was forced to import foreign-made shots in large quantities to contain a rapidly spreading disease.
Iranian health minister Bahram Einollahi said on Monday that a first batch of coronavirus vaccines containing 200,000 doses had already been shipped to Nicaragua.
“Iran is among the leading countries of the world in the field of vaccine manufacturing and currently there are six vaccine production sites in the country where various types of vaccines are manufactured,” said Einollahi.
The minister said that four million doses of domestically manufactured coronavirus vaccines are available for exports from Iran to other countries.
The comments come just six months after Iran started to import large consignments of coronavirus vaccines from countries like China to use them in a nationwide inoculation campaign against the disease.
That comes as Iranian manufacturers of coronavirus vaccines have scaled up their operations amid a ban imposed on imports that came after the vaccination campaign covered tens of millions of people across Iran.
Health ministry figures published on Monday showed that nearly 57 million Iranians had been fully vaccinated against coronavirus while over 26 million had received a third booster shot.
Iran has mostly relied on home-grown capacities to tackle one of the largest outbreaks of coronavirus in the Middle East. The country has been barred from accessing international supplies of drugs and medical equipment because of American sanctions.
Einollahi said Iran is ready to provide key medicines to other countries now that it has become self-sufficient in manufacturing various types of drugs.
He said the Iranian government aims to reach a maximum degree of self-sufficiency in medicine manufacturing within the next few years