Public/Global Health

Iran finalizes deal to purchase 60 million COVID-19 vaccines from Russia

Iran will buy 60 million doses of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine from Russia under a deal reported by The Associated Press on Thursday, citing the state-run IRNA news agency.

Kazem Jalali, Iran's ambassador to Russia, said that the contract has been "signed and finalized" to obtain enough doses to vaccinate 30 million people, according to the AP. It will receive the vaccines by the end of the year.

The Sputnik V vaccine has faced doubts internationally about its use.

Last week, Germany's health minister revealed that the European Union executive commission would not order doses of the Russian vaccine for its member countries.

Health Minister Jens Spahn told the EU health ministers that Germany "will talk bilaterally to Russia, first of all about when what quantities could come," to see if ordering the doses from the country makes sense.

She said that "to really make a difference in our current situation" the vaccines would have to be delivered in the next two to five months, or else Germany would already have "more than enough vaccine."

The deal comes as Iran is facing a surge in coronavirus infections. On April 7, the country broke its record for new COVID-19 cases for a second day in a row, reporting 20,954 cases in a 24-hour period.

The surge, according to the AP, comes after millions of people traveled to popular vacation spots and gathered together, defying health guidelines implemented for Nowruz, the Persian New Year.

In December, Iran began human trials for a locally developed coronavirus vaccine. The country's goal is to get the vaccine to market by late spring.

Also in December, U.S. donors arranged for around 150,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to be sent to Iran.

According to Reuters, Iran has reported more than 2.1 million COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began, and more than 65,000 coronavirus-related deaths.

Additionally, the country has administered at least 462,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines, Reuters reported.