Iran to buy COVID-19 vaccines in current month: Minister

Iran has planned to buy COVID-19 vaccines in the current Iranian month in parallel with manufacturing domestic vaccines, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said.

Rahmani Fazli made the remarks in a program broadcasted by Iranian television on Saturday night.

He said that President Hassan Rouhani has stressed the need for buying vaccines from abroad before the domestic versions are manufactured.

Mostafa Ghanei, the official with COVID-19 national task force said earlier that the Iranian vaccine is most probably to be available by early summer.

Elderly people as well as those with underlying diseases, which are estimated to be 1.8 million people, have been prioritized as the first group to be vaccinated, Rahmani Fazli said.

The second group of people that have to be vaccinated are health workers and others who have the most contact with infected people, the minister added.

He touched upon the upcoming presidential elections due for late spring and said that creating atmosphere for competitive election is the most important factor contributing to the participation of people.

The minister said that the coronavirus pandemic has put impacts on preparatory works for the procedure of the elections, citing the need to observe social distancing at the polling stations.

“I have no concern about the process of voting as we can create a better condition by prolonging the voting hours and increasing the number of ballot boxes,” Rahmani Fazli said.

“We are not sure whether or not to allow organizing rallies for election campaign,” he said, however, underlining the role of television and virtual space in the course of the election campaign.