Iran begins COVID vaccine exports, first shipment to Nicaragua
Iran began exporting coronavirus vaccines just six months after it was forced to import large quantities of foreign-made vaccines to contain a fast-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 one of the world’s leading countries in the field of vaccine manufacturing and currently there are six vaccine production sites in the country where various types of vaccines are manufactured,” Einollahi said.
The minister said four million doses of domestically produced coronavirus vaccines are available for export from Iran to other countries.
The comments come just six months after Iran began importing large batches of coronavirus vaccine from countries like China for use in a nationwide inoculation campaign against the disease.
It comes as Iranian coronavirus vaccine makers have stepped up operations under a ban imposed on imports after the vaccination campaign covered tens of millions of people across Iran.
Health Ministry figures released on Monday showed nearly 57 million Iranians had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus while more than 26 million had received a third booster.
Iran has relied primarily on local capabilities to fight one of the biggest coronavirus outbreaks in the Middle East. The country has been barred from accessing international supplies of medicines and medical equipment due to US sanctions.
Einollahi said Iran is ready to supply key drugs to other countries now that it has become self-sufficient in manufacturing various types of drugs.
He said the Iranian government aims to achieve a maximum degree of self-sufficiency in drug manufacturing over the next few years.