Iran becomes latest country to register Russian-made Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine
Tehran has given the go-ahead for the Sputnik V jab, made by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, to be used as part of its efforts to protect its population of more than 80 million people from coronavirus.
Speaking at a press conference after talks with his Russian counterpart on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said: “We can inform you that the Sputnik V vaccine has been registered in Iran as of yesterday. It was approved by our healthcare authorities and soon we hope to be able to purchase it, as well as beginning joint production with the co-operation of institutes in Russia and Iran.”
As early as September last year, the two countries were reportedly in discussions about enabling Tehran to begin manufacturing vials of the formula. At the time, the Middle Eastern nation’s top diplomat in Moscow, Kazem Jalali, told journalists they “will co-operate in two-three areas,” adding, “That includes joint production with Russia. Iran has great potential to produce the vaccine.”
The Islamic Republic was one of the first countries to become a hotspot for the virus last year, with Western news outlets reporting in March that a series of mass graves had been dug in the city of Qom to deal with a surge in deaths. Iran’s deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, used a televised press conference to categorically deny the claims. However, viewers took to social media to point out that he was sweating profusely and coughing during the speech, and the minister announced that he had tested positive for the virus the next day.
Also on Tuesday, India’s ambassador in Moscow told RT that his country was likely to green light Sputnik V “in the next few weeks,” and that he had received his first dose of the vaccine. According to the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which financed the development of the vaccine, over the next few weeks more than 30 countries will have registered the formula for use.
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